Record companies sue Yahoo! China; hackers steal list of Le Pen backers.

US: A hacker has been sentenced to a year's imprisonment by a Florida court. Justin A Perras was one of five co-defendants who pleaded guilty to hacking into computers at information management and workflow provider LexisNexis using Trojans and social engineering. The other four were sentenced in December 2006, and must pay the company $105,750 (£54,445) in compensation.

UK: An Edinburgh man has been awarded damages and legal costs of around £1,300 after receiving spam email. Gordon Dick took Oxfordshire-based Transcom Internet Services to the Scottish equivalent of a small claims court after receiving a single email. He alleged the company had used his email address illegally and contravened email guidelines.

CHINA: A music industry body is beginning a slew of lawsuits against Yahoo! China over alleged music piracy. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) claims Yahoo! China has made copyrighted songs available for playing or download without permission from the record companies. It is suing for a total of £366,000 in damages, involving 11 plaintiffs.

JAPAN: The National Police Agency's annual survey of cyber crime statistics shows a sharp rise during 2006. Online crime has quadrupled since 2000, with a total of 4,425 crimes being logged. Password theft has become a major issue, doubling over the past year, while phishing scams have rocketed - only 34 incidents were reported in 2005, but this had escalated to 417 in 2006.

FRANCE: A hacker has stolen sensitive data from a PC in the offices of far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. According to the police, a list of officials who had agreed to back Le Pen has been accessed by a hacker, apparently with the help of a website specialising in breaking entry codes. A National Front employee who used the computer that was hacked into was detained but later released.

ITALY: Online searchers using common Italian terms are in for a shock, following reports that malware writers have "google bombed" search engines. The gang behind Gromozon or LinkOptimizer is thought to have rigged Italian-language listings on several search engines using the technique, which is commonly used to exploit the link-related ranking methodology of search engines.

NIGERIA: Scammers have launched a fake London Metropolitan Police website, according to an anti-advance fee fraud organisation. Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations claims the site is being used to scam victims, who are referred there to buy so-called 'anti-terrorist certificates', which Nigerian 419 scammers say are needed to secure payments from abroad.

NEW ZEALAND: The government has passed the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, expected to come into force in six months' time. It covers text message and instant message spam, as well as email, and threatens "significant penalties" for contravening spammers. Those who have to send bulk emails will have to conform to standard rules regarding information disclosure and opt-outs.