Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Hear the story of a scammer victimizing people online and learn how to protect yourself. Learn about laws to protect fraud victims. Play games that teach you how to surf the Internet safely. Find them on our website.
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Several Wins for the Good Guys
Cybercrooks get all the headlines. But last week it was a botnet takedown that made the news. And the news was good.
A collaborative effort involving the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), and other private-sector partners including online security firms, took down more than 1,400 botnets used to spread the Citadel banking Trojan.
The Citadel Trojan infected an estimated 5 million computers in more than 90 countries, with financial losses worth more than $500 million.
No single organization could have tracked and shut the operation down on its own. Each provided their own expertise to compile the forensic data, technology and threat data necessary for such a massive undertaking.
The group, accompanied by U.S. Marshals, seized the data and evidence from hosting facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on June 5. Information was shared with the international computer emergency community to seize those servers outside of the U.S.
This marks the second time a collaborative effort resulted in the takedown of a botnet operation. In March 2012, a similar initiative took down those responsible for the ZeuS botnet.
Microsoft asked the court to view botnets as being equivalent to organized crime. They contend that hackers infringe on Microsoft copyright by spoofing and phishing since crooks are tampering with their infrastructure.
Citing the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and the Lanham ™ Act makes prosecution feasible.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Vietnam and the U.K. busted a credit card ring on June 6. The ring hacked into online retailer's databases and stole personal information from their customers, including names, addresses, credit card information and Social Security numbers.
They sold the information through online fraud websites or through email requests. The data was sold by the "dump" which includes data on a single, identifiable victim. Fees varied from $1 to $300 per dump, depending on the victim's country of origin and available information.
The crime ring, based in Vietnam, had data on over 1.1 million credit cards. Its leader, Duy Hai Truong of Ho Chi Minh City, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The 23 year old faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine of at least $1 million.
Back at the ranch, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Liberty Reserve for laundering $6 billion in a series of global transactions. The online payment processor is charged with what may be the largest international money-laundering scheme in history.
The DOJ alleges that Liberty Reserve was intentionally created as a black market bank, to facilitate criminal activity. It attracted and aided criminals using digital currency to launder the proceeds of their crimes.
Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky was arrested in Brooklyn, NY on May 24 for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Six other company principals were arrested along with him in Brooklyn, Spain and Costa Rica.
The company was incorporated in Costa Rica as a currency exchange in 2006, designed to send and receive payments from anywhere around the globe. They asked for nothing more than an email address along with a name and birthdate which they did not verify.
They didn't accept money transfers from the users directly. They went through third party exchangers who would buy and sell in bulk. Liberty Reserve did not keep track of its end users, providing a layer of anonymity. Users routinely established accounts under fictitious names.
Liberty Reserve became a financial hub for credit card theft, identity fraud, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking criminals. Because of the way it operated, almost all of its activity was illegal in nature.
The good news is that crooks can no longer rely on the anonymity of the Internet to ply their trade. Modern technology allows tracking that wasn't possible in the early days. It's only a matter of time before they're caught. Cyber justice is finally being served.
I lost a dear friend to cancer this past December. Yet she hasn't entirely left this world. Every few weeks I get a hug from her on Facebook, or I'm encouraged to shop at a particular store because she liked it.
Her digital life lives on.
At times it seems a bit creepy to see her name pop up online. Is this the latest craze of the living dead phenomenon? Other times it warms my heart to think she wanted a part of her to remain with us, knowing how deeply she would be missed.
Truth is, whether or not you want your cyber presence to live on isn't an option once you've passed from this life. Internet privacy laws make it nearly impossible for family members to shut down accounts other than their own.
Your digital life now needs to be part of your estate planning, along with your financial documents. It's equally as important as your Will, insurance records, and all those other legal documents you compile to help your loved ones carry out your wishes.
Your photographs, emails and Facebook Timeline may hold value to someone. Your PayPal and online shopping accounts contain credit card information that should be deleted. iTunes and Kindle allow family members to access account information provided they have user ID credentials.
Each website has its own policy for releasing information to surviving family members. Each needs to be handled separately.
Make a private list of all your user names and passwords for every account in which you have a digital presence. Update the list if you change login information. Your Will becomes public record, user names and passwords are best kept elsewhere.
Your executor or personal representative needs to know the list exists and where to find it. It's best to have someone tech-savvy fill this role.
Google launched a tool that allows you to dictate what happens to your Gmail, Google Plus, YouTube, Picasa and Blogger information. The Inactive Account Manager can be configured on your Account settings page.
Under the Account Management heading, choose to learn more about how to control what happens to your account when you stop using Google. Set a timeout period to consider your account active. Google will alert you via text message or alternate email address you provide as the timeout period ends. If you don't respond, they'll share your data with whomever you designate or delete it on your behalf should that be your preference.
Contact Facebook to memorialize the account of a deceased person. Contact information is available in their Help section. Verified immediate family members may request the account be removed instead. In either case, the website will not provide login information for the account. However, they will secure the account once memorialized.
Twitter will work with an authorized person to have an account deactivated. They need specific information to honor your request. Go to their Help section and use the keyword "deceased" to follow their procedure.
PayPal needs documents faxed to them by the Executor of the estate, including a copy of the death certificate, a copy of the Will designating the Executor and a copy of the Executor's photo ID. Choose Contact from the bottom of the main login page and type "deceased account holder" into the search box that appears. You'll have to follow a couple of message threads to find the details, they don't make it easy.
The death of a loved one is a difficult time for survivors. Your online presence is your legacy. Make certain they can find it.
Tip of the Week
In the market for dishware? Find it cheaper in June during wedding season. If power tools are on your wish list, wait until July for post-Father's Day sales.
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