Tracking Cyber Criminals

10 10 2011

Privacy is always threatened when confidentiality is lost or seized in any cyber crime. Cyber crimes can be in any form such as identity thefts, frauds, spams, viruses and so on. Targets of cyber crime range from end users to large organizations. Most of us have been targets of cyber crime at some point in some form.

“The Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3, serve as a hub to receive, develop and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding occurrences of cyber-crime”.[1] According to 2010 “Internet crime report, IC3 receives and processes 25,000 complaints per month and in 2010 IC3 has received second highest number of cyber complaints”[2]. The report shows the extent of cyber crime happening around. Question at hand is how do these centers track cyber criminals?

IC3 has a reporting system which captures and tracks the information given by the targets such as name, mailing address, telephone number, web address, specifics on the fraud and any other relevant details. Details given by the targets can be very valuable while tracking down the cyber criminals.IC3 tracks these reports and analysts prepare cases against cyber criminals based on this information provided. In 2010, IC3 analysts prepared 1420 cases (representing 42,808 complaints). 2As per 2010 Internet crime report -“Out of referrals prepared by FBI analysts, 122 open investigations were reported, which resulted in 31 arrests, 6 convictions, 17 grand jury subpoenas, and 55 search/seize warrants”2. Overall, IC3 is doing a superior work of investigating and tracking these cyber criminals.

One example of tracking the cyber criminal with the assistance of the target happened in UK. HMA generally used to keep a log of information of all logged in users including login and logout to trace any illegal activity. HMA helped FBI by providing the IP address of the suspect of the crime. Due to their timely help, a member of LulzSec hacker group was arrested in September 2011. This group previously had been involved in various illegal attacks including attack on Sony’s Playstation Network[3]. Company’s help by providing relevant specifics can be very useful in tracking the criminals in cases like this.

“Cody Kretsinger, 23, of Phoenix was accused of participating in a hack of the Sony Pictures website that exposed the names, email addresses, and passwords of thousands of consumers. He was arrested on charges of conspiracy and the unauthorized impairment of a protected computer”[4].

“Dozens of people in North America and Europe have been snared in a trans-Atlantic investigation into a string of attacks attributed to LulzSec and Anonymous. Earlier this month, UK police charged three men and a 17-year-old for various computer offenses, including DDoS attacks in December on PayPal, Amazon, MasterCard, Bank of America, and Visa”4.

All these instances show that all these agencies are putting all the efforts to make sure that cyber crimes are reduced to an extent. It is also important for end users or consumers like us to report to these agencies about any suspects of attacks which would help in tracking the cyber criminals.