The Month: Global snapshots – Google under pressure in Iraq; Brazilian hackers team up with Russians

UK - Criminals running email lottery scams are using free UK 070 personal numbers to make their claims more realistic. Scammers try to reassure victims that their lottery win is genuine by providing a contact phone number. The UK numbers are so easy to set up that they are cyber criminals' second best choice after US numbers, according to Sophos.

Germany - Two men accused of infecting more than 100,000 computers witha Trojan have been sentenced to four years and 39 months respectively.The pair generated profits exceeding EUR12 million (£8 million) byusing a Trojan dialler that caused users' PCs to ring premium-rate 0190phone numbers owned by the men. The duo were sentenced by a court inOsnabruck.

Iraq - Google has come under pressure to improve security on GoogleEarth. Reports claim that terrorists have been using the satellitemapping site to help them plan attacks on British bases in Basra. Arecent raid on insurgents uncovered detailed printouts of army bases.Google told reporters it was always ready to listen to governments'requests to block access.

Russia - A Russian businessman has had his US assets frozen by the USSecurities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after he was accused of hackinginto stockholders' accounts as part of a "pump-and-dump" scheme. The SECclaims Evgeny Gashichev and his company, Grand Logistic, made more than$350,000 (£178,000) through account manipulations.

US - Two schoolboys have been charged with computer theft afterallegedly hacking in to a school PC to change grades. Jonathan To, 18,and an unnamed juvenile were charged after a routine audit uncovered thevariations between grade reports and school transcripts, according toNew Jersey officials. To faces up to ten years in prison, according tothe Associated Press.

Brazil - Hackers based in the Latin-American country have begun aninternational collaboration venture with their Russian counterparts.Brazilian coders have started using the Russian "Web Attacker toolkit",to perpetrate drive-by attacks, according to Websense Security Labs.Previously they mostly used deception as a means to dupe users intorunning their code.

Singapore - A young hacker has been charged with 60 counts of illegallyaccessing a wireless network. If convicted of all charges, he could facea potential maximum sentence of 180 years and $390,000 (£198,000) in fines. Lin Zhenghuang, 21, is also charged under Singapore'sComputer Misuse Act with posting a fake bomb threat on a website in July2005.

Thailand - Police have arrested three Sri Lankan men and seized morethan 5,000 fake credit cards encoded with genuine details. Around halfof the compromised accounts were British. Authorities in the popularbeach resort of Phuket claim the gang could have got away with $11 million (£6 million) from ATMs had they not been caught.

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