Computer Crime Research Center


Insight into cybercrime

Date: November 30, 2005
By: Eric B. Parizo

In the corrupt and clandestine world of cybercrime, the most valued commodity is anonymity.

Criminals, such as those in the lurid Shadowcrew underground network responsible for stealing at least 1.7 million credit card numbers, take great pains to hide their IP addresses, ensuring they can't be identified, can't be traced and, most importantly, can't be found.

But even criminals who spend virtually their entire lives online can't hide forever, and that's how the U.S. Department of Justice, the Secret Service and local and international authorities were able to identify and apprehend nearly 30 alleged "carders" as a result of "Operation Firewall."

During a rare and candid presentation at the recent CSI Computer Security Conference, Kimberly Kiefer Peretti, CISSP and trial attorney in the DoJ's computer crime and intellectual property division, explained how an ongoing 18-month investigation led to the arrests, and proved just how difficult it is to hunt down a new generation of thieves.

That's because of one common misconception: that organized crime on the Internet manifests itself just like traditional mafia. In reality, Peretti said, it's virtually impossible to find any true "crime families" in cyberspace.
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