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This is the question I wanted to ask the woman who called asking me to remove a comment, actually several comments, she’d posted on a news story.

Wait, let me be honest and tell you that after a ten minute conversation I did ask her that question. And her answer, though lame, is a common answer provided by those who experience commenter’s remorse and go to great lengths to find the person who can actually remove them –  ME.  First they email, then they call. The call comes first if the comment is particularly troublesome.

The woman I’m talking about in this instance said she was caught up in the moment and couldn’t help herself.  Yes, go back and read that sentence again. She couldn’t help herself from posting a comment that could possibly jeopardize her job. She’d posted some telling information on a crime story about the suspect, and guess what? She had that information because she works at the hospital where he was treated.

Some common sense in this situation would have gone a long way.

It would not have taken Nancy Drew to solve that case had it become an issue or if it leaked that the information was on the site.

Since this woman was nearly in tears, I removed all four of the comments, but not before encouraging her to be more careful and making her understand that it was a complete courtesy on my part because it is not our policy to remove comments  and we are not obligated to honor her request.

But in this economy, I don’t want to see anyone lose their job and if I could do my part by removing four comments, so be it.

But just when I thought she understood my message and would take heed, she asked me to ban her account completely because she couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t do it again.

I was floored.

Can we get a little self-control with  that common sense?

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According to a recent news release, PandaLabs has Uncovered a hacking service that promises clients access to any Facebook account for $100. The creators of the service, based in the  Ukraine, confirm the cost and say the fee is payable through Western Union.

I’ll leave you to digest this information on your own. Here is the release:

GLENDALE, Calif., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ — PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware analysis and detection laboratory, today announced the discovery of an online service that promises to hack into any Facebook account for $100. The creators claim, “Any Facebook account can be hacked,” promising to provide clients with the login and password credentials to access any account on the popular social networking site. According to Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, “The service’s real purpose may be hacking Facebook accounts as they say, or profiting from those that want to try the service. In any case, the Web page is very well designed. It is easy to contract the service and become either the victim of an online fraud, or a cyber-criminal and accomplice in identity theft.

Once an intruder hacks into a Facebook account, all personal data published on the site can be stolen. Similarly, those accounts can also be used to send malware, spam or other threats to the victim’s contacts. In the case of celebrities of other well-known entities, they can be used to defame the account holder, spread information in their name, etc. In any event, this is criminal activity.”

In addition to extorting money and obtaining access to clients’ bank account information, the service also has characteristics in line with hacker affiliate programs. Common among cybercriminals, hacker affiliate programs offer other cybercriminals money to spread malware. This strategy is now being used with everyday Internet users through this Facebook hacking site, by offering extra dollar-credits to spend on the service when users hack more accounts. They can become affiliates to help hackers reach a broader audience, receiving 20 percent of what they sell in credits for hacking more accounts.

It is likely that the cybercriminals behind this operation are members of an Eastern European Internet mafia because payments are conducted online through Western Union wire transfers to a payee in Ukraine. The domain that hosts the service is registered in Moscow, providing further evidence of this theory. The company claims to have been offering this service for four years with only one percent of accounts hack-proof. In these cases, they offer clients a money-back guarantee. However, the domain is just a few days old. A series of images illustrating the sales flow can be found on the PandaLabs blog:

What do you think? Is this something of grave concern to us here in the US?

Angela Connor

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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