WiFi Criminal Tracked Down Via Other Means

from the oh-yeah,-real-detective-work dept

A few weeks ago we linked to an article from someone freaking out that (gasp!) a virus writer could release a virus from an unsecured WiFi access point and no one would ever be able to track him down. This is a bogus complaint. Most criminals try not to leave a trace of where they came from, and that's what real detective/forensics work is about: tracking them down. So, just because you can't figure out who they were because they were on an access point, you can still get clues, and let traditional detective work take over. That appears to be exactly what the FBI did to track down an online extortionist who used unsecured WiFi access points to secretly send out his demands. The FBI used other clues to figure out who the guy was and caught him that way. It's not clear why some computer security people seem to think that the only clues to computer crimes must also be on the computer.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Tom, Jun 26th, 2004 @ 8:02am

    Detective work

    Well, it didn't really take a lot of sleuthing to catch this guy -- and certainly not a lot of technical expertise. He was a well-known disgruntled fellow with connections to both the firm and the patent office. He also demanded that the $17 million ransom be made out to his real name (classic knucklehead-in-the-news stuff). Had neither of these things been true, and had he truly randomized his use of unsecured wi-fi connections, he might well have been impossible to trace, no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Nate, Jun 26th, 2004 @ 11:21am

    Criminals is dumb

    From the article: "The clearest sign came when he issued the seventeen million dollar extortion demand, and instructed the company to 'make the check payable to Myron Tereshchuk.'"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    DW, Jun 26th, 2004 @ 7:29pm

    Re: Criminals is dumb

    yup, stupid is as stupid does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    John Jorsett, Jun 27th, 2004 @ 3:09pm


    Clues? Like, "I'm over here! Come get me! My name is Myron Tereshchuk!" If we can arrange for every crook using an open access point to be this much of a bonehead then, yeah, no problemo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 27th, 2004 @ 4:30pm

    Re: What?

    Yes, obviously, this particular guy wasn't all that smart... However, the point remains. Just because you use an open access point, it doesn't mean there aren't ways to track people down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2004 @ 12:14am

    What if this turned out to be a plot..

    .. to frame Myron Tereshchuk? Had he not been caught with other evidence I would imagine that he could have claimed that the letter requesting payment to him was merely an effort to throw detectives off the track of the real crimimals who got scared once they discovered they were in over their heads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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