Computer Crime Research Center


Cyber crooks go phishing

Date: December 25, 2007
By: Ryan Blitstein

SAN JOSE, CALIF.: Somewhere in St. Petersburg, Russia's second biggest city, a tiny startup has struck Internet gold. Its dozen-odd employees are barely old enough to recall the demise of the Soviet Union, but industry analysts believe they're raking in more than $100 million a year from the world's largest banks, including Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual.

Their two-year rise might be the greatest success story of the former Eastern Bloc's high-tech boom — if only it weren't so illegal. The cash might be coming from your bank account, and they could be using the computer in your den to commit their crimes.

The enigmatic company, which the security community has dubbed ''Rock Phish,'' has rapidly grown into a giant of the Internet underground by perfecting a common form of Internet crime known as ''phishing.'' The thieves capture people's personal computers, then use them to send phony e-mail that tricks other users into revealing private financial information.
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