Blackmail attempt

A programmer on another forum came across an interesting problem. A random stranger approached him basically asking for money not to expose his source code. This kind of action is illegal in some countries, I’m posting the details here to point out that these requests happen.

This email is a little vague in asking for money.

Dear Sir,

My name is Ramzi gattoussi, I’m a 28 years old man. I was graduated from a high school (My degree was a high technician in administration and communication). Due to joblessness and the fact of losing the possibility to continue my education, I forced myself to gain a high level in computer technology. Now, I have an experience of 5 years in this sector. So, I tried many solutions and programs (Due to the absence of copyrights limits in our county, we have the chance to use any kind of software without any limit).

In conclusion, I have a good level in programming (Php, Flash and Actionscript, Delphi, Vb, Sql, Vb.Net and C#). I’m a developer but in a country where the copyrights have no effect. Therefore, I’m asking you to help me by any kind of job in your company and some money to live honourably. And as a result of your help, I will have no need to build a website for commercialising working codes of some good applications like your one (Someone asked me to use the ability of decompiling and reconstruction of application’s codes to get money). Excuse me for sincerity but this is the result of being without a job and having a working brain. In order to convince you, I have joined a zipped file to this email containing a working code. Excuse me another time.

Faithfully, Gattoussi Ramzi

In these situations it’s best not to respond to the original email, never give any personal details and never hand over any money. And if possible you can report it to an online crimes agency such as the one mentioned here,

The Popularity of Videos

Online videos are popular these days and as with anything popular scams are everywhere. The following two items take advantage of this popularity.

1. A movie called ” Lust, Caution” has been attracting some attention lately. Some websites have been setup (in China) that promise the ability to download a bootleg copy of the movie. What the websites don’t point out is that the download is infected with a virus that steals your passwords.

So don’t try illegally obtaining copyrighted movies, and especially not this one.

2. YouTube Scams – An email has been doing the rounds containing an ad for a video supposedly hosted on YouTube. The email goes on to explain how the video is about two lovers, includes comments and reviews.

If someone was to click on the link in this email (a link that at first sight appears to point to YouTube) they’ll be taken to a fake website made to look a little like YouTube. Then a message comes up saying that a new Flash player is required. Don’t install this player, it’s a virus. Pay close attention to links (URL’s) in emails.

Virtual Visa Cards

This concept isn’t new, it’s just becoming more easily available. It’s like a prepaid credit card, and the idea is that if it gets lost or stolen there’s only so much credit that can be stolen. It’s not linked to any of your usual bank or credit cards. It could also be considered a disposable credit card. (And the term debit would be more accurate than credit).

In Australia there’s now a new credit card that works in this way called V-Card. It carries the Visa logo and can be used just like any other Visa credit card, only that you can put any value you want into it before you start spending.

Since the whole idea is to avoid online fraud you probably wouldn’t want to buy one online. They’re going to be available at real shops (Mobil/Quix for now), you then activate it online and they send you the security details by email or SMS to make you feel more secure. There’s a $5.50 setup fee on top of the credit.

It’s a good idea for many people, especially those who have avoided online shopping till now. It could also be useful when travelling overseas (so many travellers return with stories of how their credit card details were stolen).

Details here.

2 New Skype Related Warnings

There are two new warnings related to Skype today. In each case it’s not Skype that’s the problem, it’s just related to their service.

1. Some people have received a warning saying “Security Center has detected malware on your computer“. If you click on the links provided you’ll get a message telling you malware was found on your computer. It then asks you to pay money for an alleged program to clean it. If you see this, ignore it. It didn’t really scan your computer for viruses, and the money they ask for won’t really go towards anything good.

2. Some Skype users have received a message about finding a lost girl. Again this is a hoax and if you click on the links provided a web site will attempt to install a virus on your computer. Ignore it.

More details can be found at Skype’s security site.