What was that famous line when they were trying to promote the famous Hollywood Movie Jaws II; "Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water again," well, maybe the same thing applies for computer viruses, hackers, and cyber crime? It seems there's always another scam, and just when citizens learn not to fall for an e-mail from Nigeria, or a fake antivirus pop-up on a website, there is some other fishing technique being used to get into their e-mails, or gain access to their passwords.
Interestingly enough, there was a great article recently in MIT Technology News Editor Blog titled; "New Busts in Fake Anti-Virus Epidemic - Latvian operations are targeted and, in a rare event, two arrests are made," posted by David Talbot on June 23, 2011. In the article it stated that most authorities have been uninterested in going after these scams. You know the one's where a pop-up window locks you from leaving the website, claiming you've been infected with a virus.
Why have the FBI and other authorities been lackadaisical about going after these cyber criminals? Well perhaps because they hide using foreign ISPs and are all over the world, mostly Eastern Europe. However, finally they've made a huge bust, and MIT announced;
"The scale of the haul is remarkable, and involved two distinct scam networks. In the first case, the FBI said it had taken down the distribution systems behind the infection of 960,000 computers and the fleecing of $72 million from people who "bought" phone anti-virus software over the past three years. The agency said law enforcement had seized 22 computers & servers in the US, & another 25 computers & servers in the Netherlands, Latvia, Germany, France, Lithuania, Sweden, & the UK."
It is amazing the amount of money these scams have produced, unfortunately, it also shows the lack of tech savvy and need for more education amongst our citizens. It also shows how cyber criminals are able to overpower the authorities with such incredible levels of cash produced, allowing them to have the best computer systems, and money to set up fake ISP relays, and ability to move money.
Consider if you will that we have standardized tests in our schools to ensure that our students learn how to read and write, and do basic math. Yes, those are skills that are necessary for survival in society. But then again so is using a computer, and most of our citizens are not attending school any longer, but that doesn't make them exempt from cyber attacks. We need to do more to educate our society on Internet safety, meanwhile, kudos to the FBI, and hopefully they can continue and build upon this recent success. Please consider all this and think on it.