Hackers target file-sharing site; Microsoft takes on Russian headmaster.

- UK: The leader of a gang of fraudsters that used leaked bank account information to steal £2.4 million from Halifax, HSBC and Barclays customers has been jailed for five years. Prosecutors said the "highly organised and systematic operation' used a combination of bank insiders and a virus to hack into accounts and change internet banking passwords.

- SWEDEN: In an ironic twist, file-sharing site The Pirate Bay has had a copy of its user database stolen by hackers. Site operators reckon the risk to users is low as details were "very encrypted", but have advised that passwords should be changed. The site, which allows users to download BitTorrent content for free, has had numerous battles with Hollywood, and recording artists.

- RUSSIA: A headmaster has been fined half his monthly salary in a Microsoft piracy case that President Vladimir Putin has called "utter nonsense'. The Russian court found Alexander Ponosov guilty of violating intellectual property rights for allowing pupils to use computers with unlicensed copies of Microsoft software and fined him 5,000 roubles. Reuters reports he plans to appeal.

- CHINA: A stunning 1.4 million Chinese PCs were infected over a single week in May, according to local sources. With the nation off work over the Labour Day holiday, a massive wave of malware infections occurred. This was a rise of more than 30 per cent on the same period last year, with much of the malicious activity aimed at stealing banking and gaming details.

- US: Online currency company e-gold has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, DC. The firm is accused of running an unregulated financial network that allowed cyber criminals to launder profits. The US secret service is investigating, according to media reports. The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum 20-year jail sentence.

- THE NETHERLANDS: A Dutch cybersquatter is facing legal action by Google UK after the ingenious use of trademark in domains such as Googledatingsite.nl, Googlestore.nl and Googlecommunity.nl. Owner Marcel van der Werf originally ran the sites from the UK, but has now moved at least one to Russia after the site was closed down by the ISP, according to Webwereld.

- AUSTRALIA: PC buyers down under should be taking extra caution this month, after a new wave of malicious spam spoofing the Dell online store was released. The emails claim that the user is to be charged for a camera purchase and requests they click on a link. The spoof site then uses JavaScript to install malware, according to Websense Security Labs.

- NEW ZEALAND: There are red faces at ISP Telecom this month after a potential customer, Gay Hamilton, was chastised by their mail filter. Hamilton had requested sign-up details, but her mail bounced back along with a message saying she had used inappropriate language for a business email. Content-filtering software detected eight uses of the word "Gay' in the email.