Feds Crack Down . . . Should International Internet Crime Rings Be Worried?
Since January 2013 the FBI Cyber Division and the Secret Service have been quietly waging a successful campaign. The target? International crime rings and their annual (estimated) $200 billion cybercrime enterprises. High-profile arrests and indictments have risen. Is this the beginning of a breakthrough in battling international fraud?
While the global economy has taken a downturn, fraud has risen. Internet hackers and phishers have been having a field day. However, since January 2013, federal agencies have broken up a huge stolen credit card operation, as well as shutting down the world’s largest international crime spam ring. Reportedly, more than a dozen additional large-scale illegal operations have been toppled or seriously affected. Perhaps 90 hackers and phishers have been arrested here and overseas.
• Better-trained federal agents, with more resources, now focused specifically on cybercrime
• Federal agents now infiltrating international crime rings, especially in Eastern Europe
• The international positive help foreign countries have extended pro-actively
• The resulting close partnering with foreign agencies and officials in
countries such as Germany, Turkey, Romania, Russia and elsewhere
• Overseas, cyber agents in other countries are becoming better trained
• Private companies, such as Microsoft and MySpace, are more aggressively
pursuing criminals through existing laws and through large-cash rewards
(frequently with favorable judgments – most recently a judgment, against
cybercriminals who violated federal anti-spam law, awarded $230 million to
Yes, great strides in the ongoing battle against cybercrime. But what is not mentioned, however, is the fluidness of international cybercrime (and its partner, international identity crime). Despite federal agency and overseas successes, the network of international organized crime is complex. It may be stopped at one point, but it springs to life somewhere else. That’s the nature of international organized crime. Like legitimate business, it too knows: To survive is an international climate, international organized crime also must be flexible . . . adapting whenever necessary.
And technology is evolving every day, especially in the arena of the computer – whether it be software or hardware.
This is a war reaching a new level of expertise and involvement. It does not spell the demise of international organized crime. In some ways, international crime rings are quicker to adapt. Their very existence depends on savvy when using cutting-edge, sophisticated tools – hardware and software. Can federal and international agencies keep up, anticipating the changes instead of reacting?
— Stephen Heath-Jones