by Constantine von Hoffman

House and Senate Shelve SOPA, MegaUpLoad MegaShutDown and Other Big Stories In The Week’s IT Security News

Jan 20, 20123 mins
CybercrimeData and Information SecurityFraud

Congress caves following massive online protests.

In the wake of Wednesday’s massive online protests, the House and Senate today both shelved further action on SOPA (the Senate version is called PIPA). Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) put an indefinite delay on a vote on the Protect IP Act. Meanwhile, in the House Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said the House Judiciary Committee which he leads would postpone further action, “Until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

Elsewhere in the news:

Anonymous retaliates over Megaupload shut down: The hacking (Group? Collective? Mob? Catch-all?) says it’s behind attacks that have taken down websites run by Universal Music, the Department of Justice and the Recording Industry Association of America and others in retaliation for the government’s action against the Megaupload websites. Megaupload, a site which made it easy to distribute large data files including movies and music, was shut down Thursday by the DOJ. Seven people have been charged on crimes relating to running an organized criminal enterprise responsible for worldwide online piracy of copyrighted content.

Senate set to act on overhaul of cybersecurity law: According to an aide to Sen. Reid, the majority leader is preparing to schedule a floor debate for a bill that would overhaul the country’s cybersecurity framework. The bill has been held up for two years because of negotiations and rewrites. It spans numerous committee jurisdictions and, just like SOPA, raises a tangle of technical, logistical and civil-liberties questions. Unlike SOPA, senate staffers have met with experts from many areas – including the technology and security communities – during the drafting and re-writing the bill.

Programmer arrested for stealing U.S. bank source code: The FBI arrested Bo Zhang, a 32-year-old New Yorker and computer programmer, on suspicion of stealing the Government-wide Accounting and Reporting software, used to help keep track of the US government’s finances. The software handles ledger accounting for each appropriation, fund, and receipt within the Department of the Treasury, and provides federal agencies with an account statement – similar to bank statements provided to bank customers – of the agencies’ account balances with the United States Treasury. Zhang has already admitted to taking the program and said he was going to use it to train others.

Alleged Russian cybercriminal extradited: Vladimir Zdorovenin,  was arrested in Switzerland and extradited to the U.S. where he was wanted on an array of charges. According to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, “Zdorovenin … engaged in serial cyber crimes in Russia that targeted Americans and wrought havoc with their personal and financial information, using it to make phony purchases and to manipulate stock prices.”

Group claims responsibility for breach of T-Mobile servers: A group calling itself TeaMp0isoN (why am I not surprised that most hacking group names sound like a 15-year-old came up with them?) said it had compromised Web servers used by T-Mobile and taken account information for company employees. The leaked information was posted Saturday. However, judging from date and time stamps on the leaked data, the attack appears to have occurred in October.