Yes, The FBI Is Watching Cybercrooks — But What's It Actually Doing About Them?

from the the-big-question dept

We recently had a story about how Massachusetts’ Attorney General was the recent victim of identity theft, and there still wasn’t much she could do to get the criminal. That kind of helplessness is highlighted by the first part of a multi-part Wired story about a former identity theft/credit card scammer who started “working” for the FBI to help them monitor the world of cybercriminals. Working is used loosely, because they basically paid his rent and expenses while he helped run a community of cybercrooks online (and continued to take part in various crimes — though, only after the FBI approved them). While there aren’t that many details, what does become clear is that while law enforcement is heavily involved in many of these communities (including some law enforcement officials who don’t realize certain others are also law enforcement officials) and many of these cybercrooks are openly discussing their crimes, it’s not at all clear what’s being done to stop the crooks. It’s probably a bit tricky, as the law enforcement folks who went to so much trouble to set up informants can’t be too blatant, or they’ll lose their way into the community. However, when it reaches the level that they’re letting huge crimes go by without any attempt to stop them, you have to wonder what’s the point?

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Comments on “Yes, The FBI Is Watching Cybercrooks — But What's It Actually Doing About Them?”

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justin says:

rtarded fbi

Ok, I agree, get the informants in there, let them do a bit of damage to catch them and clean up. The way this article is spun is that the FBI does nothing but watch, eat donuts and laugh at the misfortune that “cyber hackers” create … I know a few people that have had there identity stolen and it’s a real pain for them to get everything back in order; which is a huge flaw of the system. However if it was easy, there would be massive abuse to the system. What is a solution that works for all parties?

Until then, catch those idiots they know about, prosecute them and make a mockery out of them to hopefully help deter people from doing this. It would make the FBI look a bit more … intelligent.

Paul says:

The bigger picture

You have to look at the bigger picture. Do you think identity theft is the target of this operation? Not likely.

If you want to take down a big target you get your man in there and you tell him to do whatever he needs to in order to stay in and get close. If the aim were to take down a mafia leader that might mean an agent witnessing or even taking part in crimes and murders. If the agent stops to arrest the thugs then he is making himself known and you can no longer go for the leader.

By sitting back and watching these cyber crimes take place they are most likely just waiting for something bigger, and if they start causing a muck and arresting people for identity theft then they may lose their chance to get what they are really after.

Matt says:

The FBI's problem

Well, perhaps I should say problems. The largest problem is one of simple institutional incompetence when it comes to technology. The FBI has gone through many failed technology upgrades, simply because the competitive bid process the government uses is ill-equipped to handle an organization that simply doesn’t have any understanding of technology at the managerial level. I have heard horror stories of the FBI still using paper files, simply because they have no other IT infrastructure available. They cannot appear to define their IT requirements, so each sucessive contractor that has gone in to try to fix the problem has run into an entire building filled with individuals with Ted Stevensesqe levels of understanding of IT. Is it really any wonder the FBI can’t get their shit together with respect to online crime?

Then, there are the political problems. The FBI is a national organization with limited scope, and the internet (and it’s crime) is international, with virtually unlimited scope. The FBI probably does have the resources to combat it, but they’re horribly misprioritized (see above). So, they watch. And do fuckall.

Rep2Sys says:

uhm i think it can be a bit too easy if know what

Well they missed the most important steps…
1. Find the target.
2. Get inside the target’s circle.
3. Full Disclosure, one by one
4. Locate the Members after they start deals.
5. One deal, One member down.
6. Get a girl inside their circle.
7. Target the all mighty “Boss”.
8. Get info on his next “blast”.
9. Record the “blast”.
10. Trow him in jail along with all his group.


The Original Just Me says:

You are all messed up

Are you people seriously saying that it is OK for law enforcement to sponsor, or actively participate in, crimes as long as it is for nebulous ‘greater good’ ?

Where do you draw the line? Is it OK to wipe out the bank account from a single parent on Welfare as long as it protects the operative’s cover? Is it OK to sell personal data on hundreds of people as long as you get to meet the next level bad guy. After all, it isn’t like it’s your money right? And besides, the victims can eventually recover, maybe.

Try being on the receiving end of identity theft and see how it feels. You may want to take a long, hard look at your morals – I bet you won’t like what you see.

billy says:

read the effing article

Maybe you guys should read the entire article that is linked to, I read it yesterday.
And by the way, there is another article today that follows that one, and tomorrow at least is another.
I do not know about any more past the 3rd, but it is one hell of an intriguing story.
I am not condoning anything the FBI allowed, and I know that Identity Theft is serious, hell, it almost happened to my parents but they stopped it quickly and only had to cancel a couple transactions and get new cards (and numbers).
I am just saying, if you read the entire article, sometimes there really can be a greater good.
It just comes down to the specific battle of if this case is worth it (the Halo book First Strike by Eric something or other has a very good point on this towards the end, seriously, its a great book, and I do not like the Halo games that much either).

One reason that it is hard for the FBI to act in a lot of cases is because the criminals are all over other countries in Europe and Asia (and Africa I am sure). The ones in the US are more easy to catch.
The ones in the other countries are harder.
This is especially true in countries like the Ukraine and Russia where corruption is rampant (read the articles and you will understand).

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Sting each other

The laugh will come when two police who are investigating pedophiles each pretend to be kids on the same site. one proposes a meet, there will be two lots of police, one in the location and one which turns up outside. If they are from different forces (such as state troopers and feds, there could be some fun while they think that the other force was sent as backup, and try to figure out where the ped. is.

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