Hacker activity across the globe, plus a round-up of security-related news.

During June, 25 million Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs) were blocked. A 15 per cent spike between 17 and 25 June was attributed to three campaigns: attempts to find recipients for FIFA spam; the growing volume of image-only spam containing stock offers; and attempts to exploit corporate domain names as the "sender" of the spam.

Source: Postini

US - The U.S. State Department said it was investigating "anomalies" in its unclassified computer system, according to reports by major wire services. The department found significant break-ins of computers used to work on international relations with China and North Korea, according to a report by Associated Press.

US - A Washington D.C. law and lobbying firm has filed a lawsuit claiming IBM and an unidentified employee tried to hack into its email server. Butera & Andrews states in a court filing that last November it "became aware of facts which suggested that the email server through which the firm operated had been compromised by unauthorised parties." Investigators hired by the firm uncovered more than 42,000 attempts to hijack its email server, all traceable to an IP address at IBM in North Carolina.

Ireland - Less than one in five Irish internet users believe that the companies and banks they transact with online are currently doing enough to protect them from personal identity theft. Of this group, 40 per cent don't know if these companies are doing anything to protect their identity, according to a new survey by software firm CA.

Europe - Teenagers are putting their home PC security at risk by downloading music and videos, according to new research. A survey by anti-virus company McAfee of 615 teenagers across six European countries found that 40 per cent are unconcerned by the risks of viruses and other threats when downloading music or video content.

Russia - A spam campaign spreading false rumours of President Putin's death was an attempt by hackers to infect PCs with a trojan. Embedded in this spam was a hidden script that exploits the ADODB.Stream vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer to secretly download the malicious Dloadr-ZP trojan from a Russian website.

South Africa - A lawyer claimed that the country's banks are flouting its anti-cybercrime Electronic Communication Transaction (ECT) Act by disclaiming liability when a customer's account is hacked. Reinhardt Buys, an IT lawyer and cybercrime expert said banks were not fully reimbursing customers after being hacked. Buys stated that, under section 43 of the act, a bank is liable for any damage caused to its clients.

Malaysia - Microsoft plans to give hackers a sneak peak at new security features in its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system later this year. Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran, who organises hacking conference Hack-in-the-Box, said the company will be seeking advice from delegates at the conference to fix bugs before the final release of the software.

Australia - Drivers in New South Wales are using the internet to trade demerit points in a bid to keep hold of their driving licences, according to reports. The scam has led to the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) launching an investigation. The authority was considering increasing penalties for drivers who use the internet to trade points.