There are many different types of cybercrime committed. The general class of cybercrime reflects any crime that occurs over the Internet. These can range from hacking crimes to identity theft, and anybody or any entity that is online can be vulnerable to cybercrime. The list of ten major cybercrimes covers a wide range of crime types and victim types, highlighting the diverse range of criminal activity that falls under the category of cybercrime.
One of the cases identified in the video was that of Max Vision, a hacker who stole credit card information. Max Vision stole over two million credit card numbers, and was sentenced to a record 13-year sentence for this crime in 2010 (Poulsen, 2010). He had sold the stolen numbers to other criminals, and they racked up $86.4 million in fraudulent charges.
Vision was a cyber security consultant in the late 1990s, and was one of the leaders in the field. He was hacking on the side, however, and eventually this led to the credit card hack. He had already been to prison in 2001 for one hacking incident, where he had closed security holes in the Pentagon security systems, but left other holes of his own making open so that he could go into those systems. In prison, Vision met a number of other criminals, one of whom would become his partner in the credit card venture. The scam began with stealing credit card numbers, creating fake cards, and using them to buy luxury merchandise, which was then sold on eBay.
He staged a takeover of the online market for stolen credit card data, and at one point discovered that one of the members of this market was logging in from an FBI office. However, the hacking community dismissed his claims, and the FBI continued to work its undercover operation. Vision was arrested with five terabytes worth of encrypted data, and it took a team of software engineers some time to crack his codes and access this data.
The hacks had a high economic value, which were basically losses to the credit card companies, in particular CapitalOne. Vision’s history as an offender, and his domination of this credit card market, were factors in making this such a notorious case. His sentence was a record at the time, though certain hacking offenses can result in life sentences. He had, however, worked with authorities in order to help after his arrest, something that was to his credit at sentencing.
The case illustrates a few facets of cybercrime. First, the criminals are highly-talented, and often have backgrounds in cybersecurity because of their skills. Second, the criminals often target government or corporate targets. These are the most valuable in terms of the different goals a cybercriminal has. Vision targeted CapitalOne, mainly for economic gain, while other hackers in the video targeted governments. The security vulnerabilities in both corporate and government systems are easy for a talented hacker to exploit. Corporate and government servers have data on just about everybody in the developed world, so these vulnerabilities should concern everybody. The vulnerability is on the company side here, meaning that none of the customers who were victims of the crime had done anything wrong in terms of their security, and none had any chance to avoid becoming a victim.
The other thing to learn is that there is entire community of hackers and cybercriminals. Vision took over a pre-existing market for stolen credit card data, and it should reasonably be expected that this market still exists. Major companies like CapitalOne make obvious targets because of the amount of data that they have. The markets are secretive, and at least somewhat organized, which represents a challenge for law enforcement. The hackers are usually smarter than street criminals, too, which represents a further challenge because they can anticipate law enforcement moves, and it can therefore take longer to catch these criminals because of how they are able to hide or mask their activities. All of this makes cybercrime a significant threat to government and business, and any individuals who are essentially collateral damage of such activities.
“10 Notorious cyber crimes” (2014). Alltime 10s./YouTube. Retrieved March 17, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0iaRn2WwPw
Poulsen, K. (2010). Record 13-year sentence for Max Vision. Wired. Retrieved March 17, 2016 from http://www.wired.com/2010/02/max-vision-sentencing/
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