The FBI Fight Against Organized Cyber Crime

As the Black Hat conference descends upon Las Vegas this week, presents a series of articles addressing security issues past and present.

LAS VEGAS — Think cyber criminals are unorganized? Think

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICC) is at
the nexus of the fight on Internet crime. It’s at the receiving
end of those that have been violated as it fights the
fight against organized cyber crime.

Dan Larkin, ICC unit chief, kicked off the
Black Hat 2006 conference with a keynote on what the FBI
is doing to fight organized cyber crime.

Larkin also tried to make the case that the FBI needs the help of people
such as Black Hat attendees to combat cybercrime.

Larkin told the standing room only capacity crowd (with
overflow in a separate room in which the keynote was
simulcast) that the ICC gets about 22,000 complaints a month.

Industry partners provide the FBI with nearly 10
times that amount of intelligence with over 200,000
complaints a month.

“Something that eBay sees may not be the same that
Microsoft sees,” Larkin said. “But we connect the dots and
try and help industry and us to build cases faster.”

Larkin who looked distinctly out of place at the hacker
gathering, wearing a suit and tie, admitted that he used to
be really afraid of security researchers but he has come
to learn that they’re the key to the FBI’s success.

For Larkin, it’s all about making it personal, a point
that he re-iterated time and again during his keynote.

It’s personal in terms of finding the persons responsible for
cyber crime and personal in terms of forging fruitful
partners with industry and others to identify those
responsible for cyber crime.

“Intelligence is the key,” Larkin said. “We need to break down barriers.”

Breaking down barriers isn’t only a part of fighting cyber crime, but also against terrorism.

said that the FBI, with help of it partners, reviewed
the e-mail accounts of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists.

They identified a virus in one of the e-mail accounts
and were able to reconstruct virus’s origin, which allegedly was a person that had the terrorist on their contact list.

Larkin also reminded attendees to be aware of what the broader nature of the problem is.

Spammers and phishers are not just technical issues to be
dealt with by techies; they are highly organized crime and
money laundering operations.

“We can’t just look at what’s incoming; we have to do some
undercover work — make some buys,” Larkin said.

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