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34 People Arrested in 13 Countries for Hiring DDoS Attack Services

Europol, the FBI and the UK National Crime Agency arrest 34 individuals in a crack down on DDoS-for-sale services, also known as booters and stressors. International law enforcement agencies in more than dozen countries arrested 34 individuals in a cyber-crime sweep that focused on customers of online services that provide denial-of-service attacks to order.In the United States, the FBI arrested a 26-year-old University of Southern California graduate student allegedly linked to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that knocked a San Francisco chat-service company offline.

The suspect, Sean Sharma, was arrested on Dec. 9 for purchasing a DDoS tool used to mount the attack, the FBI stated in a release.Since last week, the FBI’s International Cyber Crime Coordination Cell, or IC4, and other law enforcement agencies—including Europol and the U.K.’s National Crime Agency—have arrested 34 suspects and conducted interviews with 101 individuals.“DDoS tools are among the many specialized cyber-crime services available for hire that may be used by professional criminals and novices alike,” Steve Kelly, FBI unit chief of IC4, said in the agency’s statement. “While the FBI is working with our international partners to apprehend and prosecute sophisticated cyber-criminals, we also want to deter the young from starting down this path.” DDoS-for-hire services have increased in use to account for 93 percent of all distributed denial-of-service attacks, according to Incapsula, a DoS mitigation service owned by Imperva. Neustar, a real-time cloud-based information and analysis provider, confirmed that booters and stressors have grown significantly over the past four years. "A pretty large portion of the DDoSes we have seen are the fault of the stressors and booters,” Rodney Joffe, senior vice president and fellow at Neustar, told eWEEK. “And it has been a problem for 4 years.”The worldwide law enforcement action aims to carry a message to young offenders that what may seem to them as innocuous cyber-pranks are actually serious crimes that carry hefty legal penalties, the law enforcement groups said.The people arrested are suspected of paying for DDoS services to launch floods of data against websites and online services—often gaming platforms.“Today’s generation is closer to technology than ever before, with the potential of exacerbating the threat of cyber-crime,” Steve Wilson, head of the European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3), said in a statement. “Many IT enthusiasts get involved in seemingly low-level fringe cyber-crime activities from a young age, unaware of the consequences that such crimes carry.”Yet, Neustar’s Joffe doubted that the arrests will make much of an impact.“There are millions of kids who play games, and they don’t think this is illegal,” he said. “Or they understand that this is illegal, but they don’t think they are going to get caught.”Law enforcement agencies carried out actions in Australia, Belgium, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

The law enforcement organizations underscored that fighting the cyber-crimes require a collaborative effort.“No law enforcement agency or country can defeat cyber-crime alone,” the FBI said in its statement. “This demands a collective global approach.”

DDoS script kiddies are also… actual kiddies, Europol arrests reveal

Young 'uns hire tools to hit infrastructure, info systems Law enforcement bods at Europol have arrested 34 users of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) cyber-attack tools and interviewed and cautioned 101 suspects in a global crackdown. Unsurprisingly, the users identified by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) were mainly young adults under the age of 20. The body worked with regional agencies to identify cyber-attackers that had targeted critical infrastructure and information systems in the European Union. The individuals arrested are suspected of paying for stressers and booters services to maliciously deploy software to launch DDoS attacks. The tools used are part of the criminal "DDoS for hire" facilities for which hackers can pay and aim at targets of their choosing, said Europol in its press release. Steven Wilson, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), said: “Today’s generation is closer to technology than ever before, with the potential of exacerbating the threat of cybercrime. Many IT enthusiasts get involved in seemingly low-level fringe cybercrime activities from a young age, unaware of the consequences that such crimes carry. "One of the key priorities of law enforcement should be to engage with these young people to prevent them from pursuing a criminal path, helping them understand how they can use their skills for a more constructive purpose.“ Europol is currently conducting a prevention campaign in all participating countries in order to raise awareness of the risk of young adults getting involved in cybercrime. The European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats project included Belgium, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. However, back in September, Europol's acting head of strategy for cybercrime warned The Register that the UK will “certainly be cut off from the full intelligence picture” after Brexit.® Sponsored: Next gen cybersecurity. Visit The Register's security hub

Clinton v. Trump on copyrights and patents: Reading the platform and...

EnlargeAurich Lawson | Justin Sullivan,Spencer Platt/Getty Images reader comments 21 Share this story Campaign 2016 Clinton, Trump do agree on one thing—the right to use marijuana Why a theoretical physicist wants all state bills to be online before final vote State of the biggest, best union: Trump nightly webcast debuts tonight The next President will take power with significant space decisions looming Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump on science, energy, and the climate View more storiesThe hot-button issues this election can be counted on one's fingers—and for most voters, things like copyright and patent policy don't make the list.

Assigned to a wonkish zone far from the Sunday morning talk shows, intellectual property issues aren't near the heart of our deeply polarized political discourse. Of the two major party candidates in 2016, only the Democratic candidate has a platform that even addresses copyright and patent policies.
So today, let's look at what we know about Hillary Clinton's plan, and make some informed speculation about what could happen to these areas under a Donald Trump presidency. Given that the campaign is focused (as always) on a relatively small group of issues, tech policy watchers who spoke to Ars were surprised to see a presidential platform that mentions IP issues at all.

Clinton's briefing paper on technology and innovation addresses both copyright and patent issues directly, and that in itself is something of a surprise.

Trump's website has no such information, so the best clues to his approach lie in his public statements and the people he has surrounded himself with. Clinton on copyright: The no-SOPA promise Hillary Clinton's intentions with copyright represent something of a snapshot of where the debate stands in 2016.

Copyright policy (and one could say this for patents as well) seems like an area where the nation should be able to overcome its wide partisan gap. Yet, no legislative change of any real significance took place during the Obama Administration. Roughly speaking, two huge sectors of the economy—technology and Hollywood—were sharply at odds about what should be done. That standoff made it easy for an already do-nothing Congress to, well, do nothing. Despite the lack of legislation, there was a big change during the Obama Administration in how US lawmakers viewed copyright. Members of Congress from both parties were deluged with calls and e-mails in 2012 as the citizenry absorbed what the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would mean for the functioning of the Internet.

The draconian proposal included methods for quickly blocking websites deemed piratical, demands that ISPs use "graduated response" to disconnect users accused as pirates, and instructions for search engines to be forcibly rearranged with a list of websites more to the liking of the RIAA and MPAA. At that time, the proposed anti-piracy law seemed destined for passage, with advocates of a more balanced copyright system hoping, at best, to whittle away at some of its worst changes.

But SOPA caused a public outcry unlike anything seen before; an Internet blackout prompted millions of calls and e-mails to Congress. Institutional memory of the anti-SOPA uprising is still strong in Congress, where politicians now approach copyright issues tentatively and reluctantly, speaking about not wanting to get "SOPA'd" on a complex topic. Speaking generally, most of the tech sector, and especially Internet companies, want a more balanced copyright system.

And they certainly don't want any kind of SOPA, or SOPA-lite proposal, whether it comes in the Congressional front door, through courts, or by lobbying state law enforcement. In that climate, Clinton's most important copyright position is her promise of what she won't be doing—and the Democratic candidate explicitly promises she won't be supporting a new version of SOPA.

As her position paper states, Clinton "maintains her opposition to policies that unnecessarily restrict the free flow of data online—such as the high profile fight over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)." (For reasons that aren't clear, this important sentence is oddly placed in the "net neutrality" section.) Later, Clinton has a paragraph dedicated to her positions on copyright.
It isn't too long, so it's worth considering in whole, jargon and all: Effective Copyright Policy: Copyrights encourage creativity and incentivize innovators to invest knowledge, time, and money into the generation of myriad forms of content. However, the copyright system has languished for many decades, and is in need of administrative reform to maximize its benefits in the digital age. Hillary believes the federal government should modernize the copyright system by unlocking—and facilitating access to—orphan works that languished unutilized, benefiting neither their creators nor the public.
She will also promote open-licensing arrangements for copyrighted material and data supported by federal grant funding, including in education, science, and other fields.
She will seek to develop technological infrastructure to support digitization, search, and repositories of such content, to facilitate its discoverability and use.

And she will encourage stakeholders to work together on creative solutions that remove barriers to the seamless and efficient licensing of content in the U.S. and abroad. Reading between the lines, what should the interested parties make of this? "There's flowery language, and it's hard to tell what it really means, but its heart is in the right place," said Joshua Lamel, who represents tech companies in Washington as VP of BGR Group, and serves as executive director of Re:Create, a group that pushes for more balanced copyright. "I don't know anyone in the Internet world who didn't like that paper." The most important Internet copyright law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was created and passed under Bill Clinton's tenure as president. "If you see the Internet as a success story, part of that is how [Bill] Clinton approached it in the 90s," Lamel told Ars.

There are problems with the DMCA and things that could be made better, but on the whole, the DMCA has done more good than harm. Of course, Hillary Clinton isn't her husband.

But her own record at the State Department, in Lamel's view, looks pretty good. Internet freedom was a major issue while Clinton ran State given the Arab Spring and related turmoil broke out on her watch.

The department voiced concern over Internet access and free speech during those events. The Clinton policy paper even cites a few points that are on the "wish list" of tech activists, like dealing with the mess around "orphan works," older copyrighted works where the owners can't be found, and ensuring open access to more federally funded content. While Clinton surprised some by citing a problem like orphan works, her platform is vague or silent on issues that are arguably more pressing. One burning issue for copyright reformers that she has no public position on is the deformed DMCA "exemption" process, in which people who want to bypass digital locks for non-piratical purposes have to ask permission from the Librarian of Congress every three years.

That's hamstrung companies, tinkerers, and activists who want to use copyrighted content for purposes that seem obviously good for society—whether it's ripping a DVD for educational slides or a documentary, or letting drivers tinker with their car software. In the view of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that exemption process, detailed in Section 1201 of the DMCA, is "fundamentally flawed." Seeing no progress on a legislative solution, EFF filed a lawsuit in July challenging Section 1201 as unconstitutional.
Is reform of this critical area something that could get Clinton's support? The platform leaves us few clues. Finally, while Clinton was clear about speaking up for Internet access rights in other countries, she's been more heavy-handed when US national security is at issue.
Internet privacy isn't the focus of this article, but Clinton's public statements suggest that she will be at least as supportive of massive Internet surveillance as Obama was, if not more. When asked about Edward Snowden in the debates, she followed Obama's line—that he should come back to the US and face a trial, full stop.
It was her primary opponents, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, who showed more sympathy towards Snowden. Other matters on the wish-list of copyright reformers, such as reforming the massive statutory damages available to copyright owners, are likely to face further stalemate in Congress regardless of who is president. "Statutory damages are in desperate need of change, and the damage to innovation is really high," says Ernesto Falcon, an EFF attorney who focuses on IP issues. "VC's look at litigation risk, and it's copyright is super-risky because of six-figure artificial damages.

But it's hard to get Congress to have the courage to take it up." Guessing at a Trump copyright policy What would we see under a President Trump? The answer is almost entirely speculative for now.
In October, the Trump transition team had a meeting related to tech policy.
Second-hand reports indicate that entertainment industry lobbyists had a vocal presence at that meeting, but Trump's team didn't talk much. As with some other policy areas, we're left guessing at what Trump's position might be like based public statements, his personal history, and the advisers he's surrounded himself with. Here's one unusual reason Trump could actually defend balanced copyright: the "alt-right," the most controversial segment of his supporters, rely on it.

The alt-right grew up the most freewheeling parts of the Internet, like reddit and 4chan.

And while the Trump phenomenon thrived from mainstream media's attention, he's also attacked the media and used the Internet (Twitter particularly) to speak directly to supporters.
Some of the more fringe media figures involved in Trump's campaign, like Roger Stone and Alex Jones, wouldn't really have careers without the Internet. Their followers may have been part of the hundreds of thousands of callers to Congress demanding that they stand down before implementing SOPA.
So, the far right could be advocates for Internet freedom. Another space where Trump shares some territory with copyright reformers is in his staunch opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But while tech-sector opposition to TPP centered around copyright policies that some view as draconian, Trump's opposition has always had a traditional, anti-free-trade tone.
It suggests he simply believes TPP represents a bad deal for American workers. Putting aside those coincidental overlaps with reformers, there are a lot of reasons to think a President Trump would be a problem for tech in general and the Internet in particular. He's been happy to talk about "closing" the Internet in the name of fighting ISIS, has suggested boycotting Apple, and has been criticizing Amazon and Jeff Bezos for months, largely because of Bezos' ownership of The Washington Post. First of all, unlike traditional Republicans who often philosophically run "against Hollywood," Trump is in many ways a creature of Hollywood.

That means he's likely spent a time surrounded by folks with a more maximalist view of copyright. Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, for one, is a trusted adviser. Copyright claims have been used, increasingly, as a kind of SLAPP lawsuit to squelch speech.
If anything, Trump has pushed back against free speech and press rights, suggesting he'd like to "open up" libel laws and make it easier to sue news outlets.

Trump regularly threatens libel lawsuits against his critics. While that isn't directly a copyright issue, it does not give reformers much hope. There are two well-known third-party candidates in the race, as well. Libertarian Gary Johnson told Ars in a 2011 interview that his "verdict is out on copyright laws," since they "protect yours and my thoughts, should they be original."  While he said internet freedom was a top priority for him, he As to Green Party candidate Jill Stein, meanwhile, copyrights and patents don't have a place in her platform. A third shot at patent reform? The anti-SOPA revolt notwithstanding, neither Congress nor any potential president has much interest in altering the stalemated copyright landscape, which is likely to upset either the tech or the entertainment sector. In theory, the situation with patents should be different.
In both 2013 and 2015, Congress debated and voted on different types of reforms to a patent litigation system that's widely seen as abused. Bills that would increase transparency, limit venue gamesmanship, protect end-users, and increase fee-shifting were introduced, amended, and found strong support in both parties. In the end, though, neither passed.

The Innovation Act of 2013 passed the House, but it died without a vote in the Senate.

A similar bill in 2015 was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it got no further despite the Senate's passing from Democratic to Republican control.

Both bills had broad support from the Obama Administration, but neither could win the support of key sectors, including pharmaceuticals, lawyers' groups, and universities. Clinton's platform calls for "additional targeted rule changes" to patent litigation that mirror what Obama supported, and it offers a big chunk of what the tech sector is asking for.
Specifically, Clinton "supports laws to curb forum shopping and ensure that patent litigants have a nexus to the venue in which they are suing; require that specific allegations be made in demand letters and pleadings; and increase transparency in ownership by making patent litigants disclose the real party in interest." She also praises Obama's "efforts to rein in frivolous suits by patent trolls," like the president's creation of a Patent Trial and Appeals Board.

That entity oversees inter partes reviews (IPRs) that allow accused companies to challenge patents at the Patent Office in a way that's far cheaper than court. "That language is comfortable to me, as a pro-reform kind of guy," said a longtime pro-reform tech advocate who didn't want to be named because of ongoing negotiations in DC. "It makes me think her platform is trolls are bad, IPR's are good, the America Invents Act was a good thing, and that we should have venue reform." It's a continuation of the Obama policy, and during a heated campaign, that's about as much as reformers could hope for. It all looks good on paper—but there's a big "but." Some of the advisers Clinton has tapped give reformers pause.

A Politico report on Clinton's team notes that her working group on regulations includes the general counsel of InterDigital, a patent licensing firm that's in the same group as Qualcomm.
InterDigital was a staunch opponent of the 2013 and 2015 patent bills. Another high-profile IP strategist in Clinton's working group is Q.

Todd Dickinson, a former director of the US Patent and Trademark Office under Bill Clinton.

Dickinson praised Clinton's "drill down" on tech and innovation as "maybe unprecedented," but he isn't a personality that pro-reform groups love being close to Clinton.

During debates over the 2013 patent bill, Dickinson was the head of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), an IP lawyers' group that often told Congress concerns about patent trolls were overblown. So where's Trump in all this? Again, it's guesswork. "There's just nobody working on these issues for Trump," Dickinson told Politico in August. Patent policy might be an area that Trump doesn't care much about.

Taking a look at Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana whom Trump chose as his running mate, may be more instructive. As the former leader of House conservatives, Pence is close to the right wing of the party, and he has a reputation for being someone who's skilled at negotiating with hardline groups like the Freedom Caucus. That could be useful to a President Trump, but nothing suggests Pence would be a friend of patent reform. While GOP House members voted 195-27 in favor of the first patent reform bill, most of the 27 "no" votes came from hardline conservatives, many of who identified as members of the Freedom Caucus. Pence is also a legislative rock-star to the American Conservative Union, another group that opposed patent reform from the right. Tech policy might be a proving ground as to whether a new Congress can work together in 2017.
If Clinton wins the presidency, all signs point to her facing at least one house of Congress controlled by Republicans. Will Congress support her on at least a few matters where majorities of both parties agree—like patent reform? Or, will Congress stay mired in a state of hyper-partisan inaction? Tech policy will be a kind of proving ground.

Exciting visions of a future with AI, Cyber Security and Open...

Press Release LONDON – 7 October 2016 – The final day of this year’s IP EXPO Europe began with an educational and inspiring keynote from James Gosling, Chief Software Architect at Liquid Robotics and the creator of programming language Java. A passionate advocate for Open Source, Gosling discussed vendor lock in at length, urging organisations to carefully evaluate the risks of committing to individual cloud providers. He also provided insight into his latest work on the “lunatic fringe” with Liquid Robotics ocean going semi-autonomous robots. IP EXPO Europe Day 2 Once again cyber security proved to be a hot topic amongst attendees with an overflowing theatre greeting Independent Security Researcher Samy Kamkar, an expert best known for deploying one of the world’s fastest spreading computer viruses. Kamkar used this experience to illustrate the various means hackers will exploit to take advantage of organisations and why organisations need to think about adopting radically different strategies to build effective defences. AI was also front of mind for many, providing lively discussion in a number of sessions, notably Guy Caspi’s explanation of deep learning and its application in cyber security. The Future of the Internet of Things panel, which was one of the most popular sessions of the day, also touched on AI and saw Alicia Asin Perez of Libelium, David Spezia of Tableau, Harvey Lewis of Deloitte MCS and James Hatch of BAE Systems debate how IoT is going to change businesses and what an IoT reality looks like. A world of open, memory-centric computing was also a point of discussion as Vice-president and Chief Technologist EG EMEA at HPE, David Chalmers, took to the keynote stage.

Chalmers focused on computing evolution and the move to fully “software-defined” data centres, introducing HPE’s The Machine and addressing the slowing down of Moore’s Law. IP EXPO Europe will return for 2017 at ExCeL London on October 4th and 5th. Registration opens in early 2017 via www.ipexpoeurope.com.
If you would like to exhibit at the show please contact sales@ipexpoeurope.com.