Security Bytes

Jun 4 2007   10:44AM GMT

When cyberthieves go postal

Leigha Leigha Cardwell Profile: Leigha

Like the rest of the world, the U.S. Postal Service has come to rely more than ever on the Internet to conduct business. As a result, the organization must worry about online outlaws who use its services for evil deeds.

At the Gartner IT Security Summit this morning, attendees got an account of the postal service’s efforts to track down and punish the bad guys, courtesy of Greg Crabb, program manager for the Postal Inspection Service’s International Affairs Group.

Crabb coordinates the investigation of international cybercrime impacting the U.S. Mail and private express couriers. Many of these crimes involve credit card and identity takeover schemes, he noted, and the primary focus of his work is Nigerian and Eastern European organized crime.

Crabb outlined his efforts to go after the so-called International Carder’s Alliance, organized cybercriminals who have banded together around the globe to steal by exploiting weaknesses in the eCommerce channels we’ve become increasingly reliant upon.

“The networked criminal is trying to break into computer networks to steal your money,” Crabb said. “They may not be old in years, but they are very experienced.”

Cases Crabb has investigated include the following:

Vladuz, a hacker who pilfered eBay credentials by masquerading as an official company representative. The Romanian boasted in online message boards that he had gained the ability to access eBay’s network perimeter at will and compromise individual accounts.

Peter Iyen Nosa, who used eBay and the postal service to con an American out of $1,200 dollars by selling him a phony U.S Postal and Money Order online. Iyen Nosa tricked his victims by placing an ad on a Web site chat called “Carder Portal.”

Maksym Kovalchuk, a Ukrainian who distributed counterfeit software into the U.S., some of which was laced with malware.

To find these people, Crabb said cooperation with foreign governments it vital. Unfortunately, he said, such governments aren’t always interested in being helpful. He wouldn’t say if this is because some foreign governments are sponsoring cybercrime, but he did acknowledge that some foreign officials may be cooperating with the bad guys in certain schemes.

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