Computer Crime Research Center


Meeting a new challenge

Date: February 21, 2005
Source: The Daily News / Jacksonville NC

In a nearby county, a married man with two children logged onto the Internet and engaged in a conversation with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Over time, they became chat partners.

One thing led to another, and the man concocted an excuse to take a business trip to the state where the "child" lived. When he got off the airplane, he was identified and arrested by federal agents.

The child, it turns out, was an undercover officer patrolling the Internet.

This is just one of many cybercrime scenarios that Special Agent Hans Miller of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation shared this week with a class of local law enforcement officers and a college instructor.

Miller teamed up with Coastal Carolina Community College's Division of Continuing Education to offer a three-day course on how to track criminals over the Internet and collect electronic evidence. During the course, he showed his students how to set up chat rooms, trace e-mails, and conduct forensic examinations on computer hardware and software. He also covered legal issues, such as search warrants.

"There have always been crimes," Miller said. "The Internet makes the commission of certain crimes easier."

Crimes on the rise

Cyberstalking of children, child pornography, identify theft, financial fraud, computer hacking, computer viruses, and theft of proprietary business information and intellectual property have become prominent crimes for those with even modest amounts of technological sophistication.

Statistics related to the prevalence of high-tech crime remain unclear, because many law enforcement agencies don't clearly identify occurrences of high-tech crime.

However, the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center established an Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), and from Jan. 1, 2002 to Dec. 31, 2002, the IFCC Web site received 75,063 complaints.

Miller, who covers 10 counties from Pamlico County to the South Carolina line, said cybercrime classes are necessary because computer-related crimes have significantly increased over the past five years. Law enforcement officers of all levels need to have a basic foundation of computer knowledge.

As a special agent, Miller has been trained to investigate child pornography, child sexual exploitation, hacking. Moreover, he's received specialized instruction in recovering digital and other electronic evidence.

He has seen computers used as instruments of crime, as research tools for learning how to commit crimes or how to manufacture drugs, and as repositories for criminal information in the form of an electronic file cabinet.

The main emphasis for the SBI, according to Miller, is to protect children from child pornography, to prevent child exploitation, and to track down "travelers" who establish an online relationship with an under-aged person.

In the classroom, Miller stressed the importance of knowing how to handle computers involved in a crime scene.

"If the hardware isn't handled correctly, evidence can be destroyed by the officers," he said. "That's why patrol officers and detectives have to know what to do, what not to do, and when to call for assistance."

It was a useful tip for Staci Leyble, a patrol officer/platoon evidence technician for the Jacksonville Police Department. In either role, she is going to be one of the first officers on the scene of a crime.

Law enforcement officers such as Leyble must pay close attention to the condition of the computer. Is it on or off, what programs are running, and are there any nearby media - CDs, discs, or flashcards from digital cameras - capable of storing criminal evidence?

"We have to know how to identify evidence on a crime scene, know what we are looking at, and know what's important to collect," Leyble said.

Leyble, who's worked at the department for the past 10 years, has seen an increase in the number of reported cybercrime cases, specifically related to identity theft and eBay fraud.

Joe DeCampo, a computer instructor at Coastal Carolina, took the cybercrime course because he teaches the subject and because it's becoming so prevalent.

"What's valuable to me is that now I can tell my students what's happening in our community to fight cybercrime," he said.

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2005-09-03 00:15:51 - Interesting info Barbie
2005-02-28 04:49:25 - hey boys i'm lovin ya style mr. pee-body
2005-02-21 19:05:54 - ho billlll
2005-02-21 19:03:13 - hiiiii bil
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