Wednesday, April 18, 2007

IDentiWall could stop this thief

Georgia man pleads guilty in peer-to-peer crackdown

Grant Gross

April 16, 2007 (IDG News Service) A man from Columbus, Ga., has pleaded guilty to two felonies related to distribution of copyrighted materials over a peer-to-peer network, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

The plea of Sam Kuonen, 24, is the fifth in a series of convictions arising from the DOJ's Operation D-Elite, an ongoing crackdown against the distribution of movies, software, games and music over peer-to-peer networks using the BitTorrent file-sharing technology.

Kuonen was charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and criminal copyright infringement. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the DOJ said. He faces sentencing July 16 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

Operation D-Elite has targeted leading members of a peer-to-peer network known as Elite Torrents, the DOJ said in a news release. In its prime, Elite Torrents attracted more than 133,000 members and facilitated the illegal distribution of more than 17,800 titles, which were downloaded over 2 million times, the DOJ said.

The Elite Torrents network often included illegal copies of copyright works before they were available in retail stores or movie theaters. Kuonen was an "uploader" to the Elite Torrents network, responsible for supplying the network with the first copy of a particular movie or other title that was then made available to the entire network for downloading, the DOJ said.

On May 25, 2005, federal agents shut down the Elite Torrents network by taking control of its main server. Authorities replaced the existing Web page with a law enforcement message announcing that "This Site Has Been Permanently Shut Down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)." Within only one week, the law enforcement message was viewed over half million times.

The Motion Picture Association of America provided "substantial" assistance to the investigation, the DOJ said.

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IDentiWall will resolve this issue.

IRS warns of new e-filing scam that rips off refunds

Gregg Keizer


April 16, 2007 (Computerworld) The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is warning Americans of a last-minute online scam where fraudulent sites pose as part of the agency's free tax-preparation service to poach refunds.

On Friday, the IRS issued an alert saying it had uncovered one or more sites masquerading as part of the Free File program. Free File, a partnership with 19 tax preparation services, offers free preparation and e-filing to anyone with an adjusted gross income under $52,000. It's accessible only through the IRS's own Web site.

The bogus sites, however, pretend to be part of the program, duping taxpayers into preparing their taxes and submitting them for e-filing. The criminals have been accepting user information, then substituting their own bank account information for refunds before resubmitting the modified returns to a real Free File participant, the IRS said.

"The final days of the tax season always bring tax scams," IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said in a statement. "Make sure you're really dealing with the IRS. ... The only way to do it is through the secure Web site." The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration is investigating.

The IRS regularly warns taxpayers of possible scams; security vendors have also gotten in on the act with e-filing tips of their own.

The April 17 deadline for filing federal returns is two days later than usual this year, because April 15 fell on a Sunday and today is Emancipation Day, a District of Columbia holiday.


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