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Norway Rounds Up Alleged International Teenaged Cybervillains

Two teenagers have been arrested in Norway in connection with a series of cyberattacks, according to the BBC.

The teens, aged 18 and 19, reportedly went after an array of websites: the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA); the Norwegian Lottery; and Bild, a conservative tabloid in Germany.

From the BBC:

Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) said the sites had been hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, in which large amounts of data were sent to the owner’s servers in an attempt to overwhelm them.

It added that the 18- and 19-year-olds were charged at the end of last week following electronic attacks over a period lasting “several weeks.” The offence carries a maximum sentence of six years in jail.

The attacks were reportedly severe enough to force SOCA to take its website offline.

India Looking to Cash In

India could seek US$3.75 billion from UK-based telecommunications company Vodaphone pending passage of a proposed tax law, according to ZD Net and The Wall Street Journal.

The law would retroactively tax overseas mergers involving Indian assets.

From ZD Net:

Vodafone … had purchased a majority stake in Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa’s Indian assets in 2007 for $11.2 billion. The former acted through a Dutch subsidiary while Hutchison Whampoa used a Cayman Islands unit to complete the deal. The British company had said it was not liable for taxes because the deal was conducted outside of India, while the government argued that it should be taxed because the deal involved India-based assets, the report said.

“It would be grossly unjust if, on the basis of legislation passed five years after the event, Vodafone were to be charged tax on a gain made by someone else,” the company said on Wednesday, adding that it had invested more than $9.3 billion in its Indian operations and paid more than $5.39 billion in taxes without repatriating any earnings.

The tax bill, passed Tuesday by Indian Parliament’s lower house, still needs to be approved by India’s upper house and president, according to ZD Net. Should all that go through, India would reportedly be able to tax transactions dating back to 1962.

Thatcher Lives

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was subject of a rapidly spreading and– entirely false — Twitter rumor claiming her death, according to Naked Security.

The rumor appears to have originated from a Twitter account claiming to belong to Carla Bruni, wife of recently ousted French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

From Naked Security:

I don’t know that the real Carla Bruni isn’t in charge of that account — but I must admit that I would be very surprised if she was.

Nevertheless, the tweet was clearly enough for [French media outlet] @LesNews to rebroadcast the news to its 100,000+ followers, causing the story to spread worldwide.

Fortunately some news agencies were a little more skeptical, including CNN’s Gill Penlington, who contacted Thatcher’s official spokesperson and debunked the claims.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been a vehicle for false death news. In February, both Twitter and its Chinese counterpart, Weibo, lit up with news that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had died. He hadn’t.

Dutch Ban the Pirate Bay – Again

Less than two weeks after the UK ordered Internet service providers to ban file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, the Netherlands has followed suit.

A court in The Hague ruled Thursday that Dutch ISPs UPC, KPN, Tele2, T-Mobile and Telfort must block the site, according to The Verge and the Dutch site

Dutch courts have long been trying to block The Pirate Bay in the Netherlands. A court issued a similar ruling in 2010 and again earlier this year.

Not all Dutch ISPs complied, thus prompting yet another, more stringent ruling.

The most recent decision stipulates that ISPs which do not comply will face heavy fines. The decision is expected to be appealed, according to The Verge.

Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here.

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