With so much business now conducted online, it is not surprising that illegal internet activities are spreading as well.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that internet crime is rising on the FBI’s priority list. An FBI agent told the paper that one of the greatest threats the average person faces involves malware that pilfers bank account information and then transfers funds out of the account.
One such type of viral software, the agent said, is SpyEye.
Three years ago, the Bureau obtained a warrant in the Northern District of Georgia, searching and seizing a SpyEye server. According to law enforcement officials, the server was in control of more than 200 computers.
Financial information was then obtained via the server from the computers, the agent said.
Undercover agents apparently began to pursue a man they believed was responsible for cyber crimes committed using the virus. They said they bought a copy of SpyEye from him; the program enabled users to swipe financial info, conduct online banking matters and log the keystrokes of the computer’s owner.
The man who allegedly sold the virus to the undercover agents was later indicted (though his actual identity was at that point not known to the FBI) on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.
The man, who turned out to be a Russian national, was eventually arrested in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Earlier this year, he pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. The malware he created apparently contaminates more than 1.4 million computers worldwide.
He will be sentenced in late April.
In many similar situations, it is optimal for a defendant to discuss all available legal options with an attorney experienced in defending clients at trial as well as in negotiating with prosecutors for dismissal or reductions of charges.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle, “Cyber crime rises on FBI’s priority list,” Phil W. Hudson, Feb. 27, 2014