Listing of recent cybercrime related arrests

The repercussions for cybercriminals are finally coming in line with the severity of their crimes. With international computer crime authorities joining efforts in a bid to bring down hackers, malware authors and spammers, the past 12 months have seen more arrests and harsher sentencing for criminals involved in high-profile crimes. Below are some of the cases that made the news in just in the second half of 2007.

August 2007: 27-year-old Christopher Smith was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US for selling millions of dollars worth of medications online to customers without prescriptions or a license42.

August 2007: Jacob Vincent Green-Bressler was sentenced to seven years in prison for buying stolen data from hackers43. Armed with account numbers, identification numbers (PINs), passwords and social security numbers, 21-year-old Green-Bressler was able to create counterfeit credit cards and withdraw money from cash machines.

September 2007: A Chinese court found four men guilty of writing and selling the Fujacks worm44, which converted icons of infected files into joss-stick-burning pandas. The malware was designed to steal usernames and passwords from online gamers, details which would fetch a high price on the black market. The men were sentenced to between two and half and four years in jail, but not before they wrote and gave the authorities a fix for the infection.

October 2007: James R Schaffer and Jeffrey A Kilbride were each sentenced to five years in jail and fined $100,000 for their part in sending innocent internet users sexually explicit images, a crime that netted them over $2 million45.

November 2007: A 17-year-old was arrested in The Netherlands following claims that almost $6,000 worth of virtual furniture was stolen from users of a popular teenage gaming website46. Virtual furniture at Habbo Hotel is purchased with credits that cost real currency. The teenager created fake Habbo Hotel websites, captured the players’ login details and used the information to break into the real website and steal virtual furniture.

With hacking, phishing and web threats on the increase, Sophos looks expectantly to 2008 for further improvements in solving computer crime cases, but warns that authorities should not become complacent if they are to keep users safe.

Source: Sophos Threat Report 2008.


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