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Fighting cybercrimes in Ukraine

By Vladimir Golubev
Date: June 08, 2003

Stop computer crimes Information society does not simply change the status of information (information, knowledge, and data) as a catalyst of positive changes in the social being but also widens possibilities of delinquent groups to use information for the antisocial purpose

The example of famous computer crime in 1999 can prove the serious character of this problem. 80,4 million UHR (Ukrainian Hrivnas) ($20 million) were drawn from the reserve fund of National Bank Ukraine in Vinitsa by obtaining unauthorized access to the banking computer network. Eight months later, the Organized crime fighting service succeeded in arresting more than thirty persons involved in committing this resonance crime after conducting eleven pre-planned searches.

Russian hackers are accused of stealing Microsoft secret codes, downloading information from Pentagon computers, cracking NATO web sites, drawing thousand numbers of credit cards through Internet and million dollars from West banks. For the first time Russian hackers attracted attention of the whole world in 1994^; Vladimir Levin, a young mathematician, cracked Citibank computers and transferred twelve million US dollars to the banking accounts of his friends in different countries of the world. He handled this operation staying at Saint-Petersburg apartment. Finally, he was found and arrested but the other hackers went on demonstrating their skills in committing cybercrimes.

The case became widely known in the press when Russian law enforcement bodies rendered harmless the criminal group that had succeeded in penetrating into American large online shop handling business through Internet. The criminal case materials run: “…in February 1998 Ilya Hoffman, the viola student of Moscow conservatory, found Authorise software in Internet that offsets between shops and plastic card holders when ordering and purchasing products through Internet. He downloaded that program to his computer thereby obtaining an access to information on numbers of plastic cards, which help to pay for products in “computer” shops. The mechanism of swindle consisted in that when staying at home and operating in Internet, Hoffman imitated the work of Internet LLC online shop (Vancouver, USA) that accepts orders for products and receives payment for them through Internet. He acted as a salesclerk and buyer at the same time. When pretending to be a purchaser, he supposedly ordered products paying for them at the expense of funds on the plastic cards, account numbers of which he learned from Authorise program. The legal keepers of cards did not even suspect that they “bought” something in Vancouver. After effecting such a transaction, Hoffmann cancelled an order. However, he indicated the number of "false" card belonging to an accomplice. Hoffman’s accomplices opened banking accounts in advance. The criminal could not transfer money from card to card, because such an operation would have been noticed at once. In conclusion, the delinquent persons drew funds from the online shop account and put them to the account of an accomplice’s “false” plastic card. Ilya Hoffman was arrested on the charge of stealing $97 000 through Internet.

According to experts, now every hacker drawn dollar accounts for that invested in the computer security. Any housewife heard something about hackers but few persons know about those who create the defence system to fight computer criminals. This invisible struggle continues all the time: a new protecting technology (patch) is developed to suppress every new cyberattacks.

Computer Crime Research Center

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