Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cybercrime has bad karma

“I used to steal a lot. But I don't do that anymore, because I believe in karma.” Whether you share or not the opinion of actor Andy Dick on karma, it is clear that if you act in a harmful way to others, sooner or later  you will end up confronting the consequences.


So if you participate in a fraud scheme compromising 4,000 credit and debit cards and causing estimated losses of $ 650,000, you can expect to be punished sooner than later. A Florida woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for this crime.

Moreover if you hack the computer system of helpdesks company such as Zendesk and take advantage of one of their customers’ millions of support tickets - let’s say Twitter’s ones -, you can always hope not to get caught. But if you also take advantage of this information to compromise the Twitter feeds of two companies, you could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $ 250,000, as happened to Cameron Lacroix, a 25-years old man who has already been convicted of computer hacking and payment card theft before.

But what could it happen if you obstruct a police investigation by refusing to reveal your computer’s password, when even a judge has urged you to do it? Then you will spend six months behind bars, at least in the UK, where a 22 years old computer science student called Christopher Wilson has been convicted of failing to provide his encryption keys.

Another cyber act of villainy that can be punished by justice (or karma) is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against anti-spam organization Spamhaus in March 2013. Presumably the police have already arrested two of the individuals involved, but are still looking for two Americans, two Russians and one Chinese.

It doesn’t matter neither the time nor the distance. If you are suspected of being infected a retailer’s computer system with malware to steal its customers’ credit cards information and sell it on the black market, you will face the consequences. Whether you did it between 2009 and 2011. Even if you are in the Maldives. Or, if you're a deputy in Russia’s lower house. Last weekend, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security apprehended Valerevich Seleznev, known as "Track2" in the underground world of the Internet, who was wanted since 2011 on suspicion of the above offense. However, Russia has accused the U.S. of kidnapping one of its citizens, breaking a bilateral agreement.

Do you believe in karma? In poetic justice, perhaps? Whatever your beliefs are, we invite you to follow us to keep you updated on everything that happens in the world of cybersecurity through our social channels (find the links at the right sidebar) or here on our blog.

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