Phony lord and sex shop owner convicted of attempted bank theft

A self-styled lord and a Soho sex shop owner have been found guilty of helping to organise an attempt to hack into City bank accounts and steal ¬£229m. “Lord” Hugh Rodley, 61, and David Nash, 47, were convicted at Snaresbrook crown court for their part in a sophisticated electronic fraud and money laundering operation.

The gang targeted the City offices of the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. If successful, it would have been the largest bank raid ever carried out in the United Kingdom.

The gang were defeated, however, by relatively elementary errors in filling out electronic forms on the Swift international transfer payment system. They had acquired account details and matching passwords by installing key-logging software on the bank’s computers…

Both Rodley and Nash were remanded in custody. They will be sentenced tomorrow along with three other members of the gang who have already pleaded guilty: the bank insider and security supervisor Kevin O’Donoghue, 34, of Birmingham; a Belgian computer expert, Jan Van Osselaer, 32; and Van Osselaer’s recruiter, Gilles Poelvoorde, 35. All admitted conspiracy to steal.

This illustrates how even the least competent crooks can acquire over-the-counter technology for illicit purposes. What if one of them had been a half-decent script kiddie or gamer, eh?

Electronic voting works in Brazil. Why not in the U.S.?

Brazilians have been voting electronically for more than a decade and with local elections scheduled for 5 October, thousands of voting machines are being deployed to schools and libraries around the country…

We introduced the digital ballot in 1996 and by the year 2000, 100% of our elections were conducted using this system,” said Antonio Esio from the Regional Electoral Office…

To make the voting machines easy to use a numeric keyboard was chosen as the main interface – something familiar to anyone who has made a phone call.

“It’s quite easy to use because voters only need to type in a number for the candidates and they can also see the picture of the person they’re voting for,” said Mr Esio.

“So this system helps illiterate voters, because they can identify their candidate by a number, and that was a great advance,” he added.

The government also set a challenge to ensure that the cost did not exceed $1000 per machine.

Brazil is introducing fingerprint ID for the machines, as well. To control the possibility of voter fraud. That would probably panic the “liberty lobby” in the United States.

Of course there’s an easy way around requirements for universal fingerprinting. Use standard law enforcement fingerprint ID software to analyze the votes. That will identify duplicates needing to be challenged.

And the cost? Well, that’s not important in the United States. Right?

The privacy paradox

We all cherish our privacy. Then we go and divulge everything about ourselves on Facebook, sprinkle our Social Security number like pixie dust across the Web and happily load up on tracking devices like GPS navigators and cellphones.

Researchers call this the privacy paradox: Normally sane people have inconsistent and contradictory impulses and opinions when it comes to safeguarding their private information.

Now some new research is beginning to document and quantify the privacy paradox…Their findings: Our privacy principles are wobbly. We are more or less likely to open up depending on who is asking, how they ask and in what context…

“The cues that we rely on through culture and evolution to tell us there is a privacy issue are not present on the Internet,” he said. Meanwhile, “the same technology magnifies the risk.”

I guess because I’m a geek who’s been online for 25 years, my understanding of cyber-privacy grew with the medium. The same sort of reasonable limits apply to the Web as to my public – and local – life.