Internet as an intelligence tool
By Vladimir Golubev
Date: June 21, 2003
The development of Internet-technologies introduced new terms and notions such as "cybercrime",
"cyberterrorism", "infowar", "network intelligence" and so on...
Today Internet gives a great opportunity to carry out reconnaissance actions. The analysis of web sites shows that some countries do it in an active way. It should be noted that “network intelligence” has existed for a long time. Early 90s the US Special Service analysts paid attention to that most of necessary information can be easily obtained through Internet. It allowed increasing funds allocated to conduct network intelligence on the part of special services. At present, FBI, CIA, SIS, MOSSAD and some other special services from developed countries have corresponding departments. Their activities include legal Internet monitoring, secret service operation, operative data collection, infowar actions, and studying personal characteristics of politicians, scientists and military men, as well as gaining information being of interest to national security.
Particular tactical efforts and organizational forms (activity of secret agents and search groups, operative contacts with people) are required to obtain any information on crimes. When compared with information technology crimes with no material traces, many traditional offenses (theft, removal of stolen material values, weapon possession) can be visually fixed. The following fact can serve as an example. Commercial structures disclose no data on e-commerce crimes. They would rather incur losses than lose their reputation.
The main tools of Internet intelligence are all possible network monitoring software (“intellectual agents”) and hardware that allow automating the process of collecting operative information in Internet. They are capable of not only searching specified data in Internet but also analyzing web sites to reveal potential criminals.
It is urgent now to effectively use methods of network intelligence and the latest information technologies when investigating computer crimes.
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