Computer Crime Research Center


Boundless world of crime

Date: October 17, 2007
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Vladimir Golubev

Internet quietly entered our everyday life. Using it we have done thousands of operations: search for information, pay bills, purchase goods... But information store carries a mass of intractable problems with it. Every day there are new ways of embezzlement of funds, break-ins databases. Computer viruses of every sort and kind wander from a computer to computer, causing extensive damage to both individuals and major corporations. These crimes have no boundaries. But, fortunately, there is opposition. Director of Computer Crime Research Center Vladimir Golubev explain how to fight with “all of this” to our readers.

- Hello, Vladimir. There are many scammers, which are trying in many ways to take away honestly earned money from conventional internet users. What hackers can be found in your city ?

- Hacker is a high-quality specialist, professional, who knows several programming languages, systems analysis, perfectly understand computer technology. He never leaves traces and never gets caught. These truly hackers are only 1.8%. But they are a problem for law enforcement. Criminal structures are widely use professionals and generously pay for their work: hacking, accessing to information or trivial theft of money. The appalling headache for the whole Ukraine, as well as for our region, is carders – thefts who take money from bank accounts and ATMs. Unfortunately, for fear of losing customers, most of banks do not disclose such incidents; they are conducting an investigation on its own, without law enforcement agencies help. (Concealment leads to results when data is not received by the state statistics; respectively, no one knows this data and statistics. It's like Soviet times, when we have not had any prostitution or drug use.) Second sore spot for my city Zaporizhzhia is phone time theft – frickers do it. Rambling around high-rise apartment buildings, they scan phones with special devices. Responded to the ping number is selling to a “Pakistan” student. He, of course, calls home as much as he can. As a result, some retired old lady has to pay huge bills for long-distance calls. The same thing happens in mobile communications.

- I would like to know how to protect myself from viruses and computer penetration?

- You can be helped by elementary safety rules. First of all, you must have the "antivirus" and the "firewall" with fresh updates. If accidental virus comes via floppy disk, hard disk or flash drive, it will be caught and program warns you. Attack may be proceeded directly via the Internet. Hacker manually gets access to your computer and makes whatever he need with it. Therefore "firewall" – must have! Do not visit dubious sites, especially free porn sites or with various sweepstakes and lotteries. They can carry a virus, which is easily moved to your computer. In fact, many search engines such as Google, warns you about dangers in output results. Thus, you can avoid the infiltration of the virus and spontaneous devastation of your electronic purse.

- My mail often gets strange letters, sometimes even with penis enlarge proposal. What is the point in the distribution of such letters? And how can I protect from it?

- Often viruses are spread via e-mail, more accurately, via spam. Such letters are sent not by people, but automatically. You could even be offered to buy nuclear bomb, but most often it is common advertising. You have to change your email address. Of course, this is not so easy just because have to warn your entire contact list. I recommend deleting all spam messages, with no attention to details written. You will not lose any valuable information. I personally remove unknown letters and letters without a subject. There is a basic rule: if you write to someone – indicate about what you write. And downloading spammers attached files is terrible improvidence.

- I have little son, and I worry about his normal development. Is it true that Ukraine has distributed child pornography in the Internet?

- This problem is very important not only for Ukraine but for the entire world. Billions of dollars circulate in this business. The danger arises when a child starts to work on the Internet. He enters the chat, unaware that today it’s full of pedophiles. Once I had to take part in the seizure of a model agency. Parents suspect nothing and thought that their child will be a model in future. In fact, the model agency served for crime business covering. Sometimes, parents knowingly give their children into sexual slavery. For big money, of course.

- How large-scale modern terrorists are using advanced technology? And how to fight with this?

- There is such a thing as cyber-terrorism. Cyber terrorist is a terrorist, which uses information technology. Take, for example, nuclear power plant. It has an automated system - computer managing all the technological process. Connection to the Internet is out of the question, and therefore to strike the system from outside is very difficult. But there is always the most vulnerable and the weakest link – a man. If cyber terrorist can bribe rights person, he would receive external access to automated system. Imagine what an ultimatum may dive offender with access to the management of nuclear reactor? Glory to God, for Ukraine is only a potential problem.

- Banks use the system of payments relying on some of banks channels, perhaps using the Internet. Is it possible to hack banking system in Ukraine?

- Unfortunately, today there are lots of banking systems break-ins, and basically they are all made through the Internet. The problem is that no bank operates without global networks. Services (different payments), passing through the Internet with no protection and are vulnerable to hacking. The threat, of course, is present; but this does not mean that we should shout alarm.

- Is there any theft occurred in your local region banks without assistance "from the inside"?

- It is very difficult to do. In 80% of cases the criminal group includes bank employee (former employees as well as previously fired). I will not specify in which banks theft occurred, but the amount was quite large - about 1 million hryvnas. One caught employee said he simply tested bank security system. Once, dismissed system administrator, who developed bank security software, was involved in crime. He only knew all the nuances and entrance ways. In fact, the dismissal of system administrator – is high risk for a bank. In some measure, a bank is a hostage of system programmer.

- The world makes purchases on the Internet. Give a clue how to distinguish true online store?

- Problems of e-commerce are especially relevant in Eastern Europe. Nowadays in our country you can buy everything from stamps to a car via the Internet. But always need to remember - there is no such thing as a free lunch. And if you asked to buy a good modern laptop for 300 dollars - immediately deny this offer. Also take a look what is host-site of the store. If it has a free hosting like, the question will be whether major shopping place will have its site for free. Please note the fact with which bank this online store is working. Information can be found on the forums, at other sites, in any search engine.

- Could you tell how often law enforcement agencies turn to you for help?

- We are the same police operatives that combat criminal activities in the field of information technology. But unlike law enforcement we pursue mostly research purposes. Explaining how it all happened, defining methodologies, write books, which classify computer crimes, give way to counteraction, holding conferences. The main objective is information exchange. Modern lawyer should know very much about this new form of crime. We are working closely with law enforcement, and, in fact, they can take actions against computer crimes.

- In large companies staff monitoring became very popular - inspect Internet usage, sending e-mail, etc. Whether it violates human rights?

- In large companies besides staff computer work monitoring there is even a video surveillance. This is done to protect against information leakage or theft by competitors, as well as to determine the level of productivity in the enterprise. For example, if it turns out that 60 of 900 employees instead of working browsing porn-sites, it will draw appropriate conclusions. Generally, employees during hiring process must be notified about everything. Then there will be no violations. If monitoring and surveillance conducted in secret – it is a sensitive issue concerning confidentiality.

- Internet strip-show is fairly lucrative field of sex-business. How popular and legal virtual striptease ?

- Online striptease is becoming increasingly popular in Ukraine and in our city in particular, although it’s not legally. This entertainment is designed for wealthy foreign men who enjoy quite frank elements during the show session. Customers are really paying a lot of money for it. Perhaps for this reason, these sites have not yet been legalized in our country.

By Vladimir Golubev for Ukrainian newspaper "Establishment".

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