Sealand, the Data Haven

Thursday, March 29th, 2012 | Jim Cheetham | Comments Off on Sealand, the Data Haven

There’s a nice and very detailed article over on Ars Technica covering the history of the micronation Sealand operating as a Data Haven …

Written by James Grimmelmann, Associate Professor at New York Law School, covers the history, motivation and inevitable failure of the HavenCo business, as well as a good part of the history of Sealand itself. There is a significantly longer and much more detailed paper (80 pages) published by Mr Grimmelmann in the University of Illinois Law Review journal for those who enjoy more in-depth discussions.

And no, WikiLeaks is not going to be able to move servers to Sealand in order to avoid prosecutions, sorry.

You have *not* been betrayed by your Friend

Thursday, March 29th, 2012 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on You have *not* been betrayed by your Friend

We’ve just updated the Common Internet Scams page with a new and unusual scam that’s recently been seen around the world. Known as the “hit man” or “Assassin” scam, this email essentially claims that the senders are going to kill you – contact them immediately if you want to live.

We suspect the obvious – contact them and they will ask for money. Ignore the email. However, if you do feel threatened, contact your local law enforcement agency. An example of these emails is below:

Subject: You have been betrayed by your Friend

You have been betrayed!!! Its a pity that this how your life is goingto come to an end as your death had already been paid for by someone who is very close to you from all investigations.
I have ordered 3 (three) of my men to monitor every move of you and make sure you are not out of sight till the date of your assassination.
According to the report I gets, you seem to be innocent about what you have been accuse but I have no business with that, so thats why am contacting you to know if truly you are innocent and how much you value your life.
Get back to me if you sure want to live on, ignore this mail only if you feel its a joke or just a threat.
Dont forget your days on earth are numbered, so you have the chance to live if only you will comply with me.
WARNING: Tell no one about this mail to you because he or she might just be the person who wants you dead, and if that happens, I will be aware and am going to make sure you DIE instantly.
I will give you every detail of where to be and how to take any actions be it legal or illegal, thats only when I read from you.
You need to stay calm and act unaware of this situation and follow instructions because any move you make that is suspicious; you will DIE as your days are numbered.

Keeping PC software updated

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | Jim Cheetham | Comments Off on Keeping PC software updated

One of the most important protections against malware is to have up-to-date versions of software in use. The base OS and some applications are very good at checking and updating themselves, but there are lots of applications that leave it up to you to check; and who has time for that?

The security services company Secunia has recently updated their Personal Software Inspector application, and you can find the v3 beta version available free of charge at

This app scans your Windows PC, looking for outdated software; it then downloads and installs the updates for you. I have a Windows virtual machine here that I occasionally use, and it has very little installed on it at all; PSI still found updates for Firefox, Opera and most importantly Adobe Flash!

If you are responsible for maintaining the state of your own Windows PC, I’d recommend adding Secunia PSI to your toolbox.