New technology changes rapidly and so do crimes associated with it. In a recent report MSN.com reported on how the FBI has added five alleged cybercriminals to its “most wanted” list.
They include a former San Diego college student who developed a program called “Loverspy” or “Email PI.”
The operation is said to have been run from his apartment and he advertised it as a way to “catch a cheating lover” by sending an electronic greeting card that would install malicious software, when it was opened, to capture emails and instant messages. The report stated he could even spy on someone using the victim’s own webcam.
Despite the complexity of the program, 33-year-old Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara, is said to have made very little money from the scheme.
Others on the FBI list are accused of “bilking millions of dollars from businesses and Internet users worldwide,” reported MSN.com.
John Brown, who oversees operations in the FBI’s cybercrimes division, said Perez-Melara’s Loverspy program was one of many illegal “hacking-for-hire” services.
“In one case earlier this year, a New York police detective was arrested for spending more than $4,000 on hacking services to obtain the emails of more than a dozen of his colleagues. Many of the operators tend to be based overseas,” reported MSN.com.
Brown described them as “sophisticated folks who know how to hide themselves on the Internet.”
Others who appear on the FBI most wanted cyber list include Alexsey Belan, a Russian, who is accused of breaking into the computer networks of three major U.S. e-commerce companies. Investigators said he stole the companies’ user databases and encrypted passwords, which were then sold.
Two others named by the FBI, are accused of hijacking computers with malware that they disguised as online advertisements. The FBI said they then sold security fixes to victims. The losses in one of these cases are said to have racked up to $100 million.
Texas has some tough sanctions for cybercrime. Under section 33 of the Penal Code 33.01, a break of computer security is a felony if the amount involved is between $1,500 and $20,000 or the amount is less than $1,500 and defendant has a previous conviction.
We have extensive experience in helping those who have been charged with Internet crimes. State and Federal Courts have been charging more people with these offenses in recent years. Perhaps the most common Internet-related crimes alleged are the online solicitation of a minor to engage in sex and the acquisition of child pornography. Many fraud crimes also now make alleged make use of the internet, and it is not unusual to be charged in Federal court with the allegation of “hacking” into computer systems.