Who are the cybercriminals?

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Phrases such as evil step-mother, lawyer, politician, and cybercriminal evoke powerful images of stereotypical nefariousness, but not all is as it appears and oftentimes we overlook the reality of the situation.

Since this blog is about cybercrime, I will leave the lawyers and evil step-mothers alone. However, politicians will be fair game in future blogs as, in some cases, they are enablers. In some countries, politicians are the beneficiaries of cybertheft and have no incentive to decrease cybercrime, but that is for another blog. For today I want to expand your understanding of the term cybercriminal and let you know what you can do about it.

The stereotypical cybercriminal is running botnets, stealing bank accounts, hacking into major companies to steal trade secrets, and performing other nefarious high-profile crimes that capture the fancy of major news organizations, but the problem is really far more insidious than most people realize.

Let us take a look at a few cybercriminals whose types of crime may affect you or people you care about.

Just about a year ago, Anthony Stacl received a 15-year prison sentence. What was his cybercrime? Anthony was an 18-year-old high school student who tricked fellow students into sending him nude pictures while pretending to be a female. From there, Stacl threatened to expose the students if they did not perform sexual acts with him. Blackmail via the use of computers is a type of cybercrime that can affect many people.

Kenneth Kranich is a gambling addict who turned to cybercrime to fund his addiction. What did Kranich do? Kranich advertised computers for sale on eBay, but then never delivered them. In another case, Justin Castilyn allegedly sent a counterfeit money order for $1,950 to buy videos from his victim who had advertised the items for sale on Craigslist. Castilyn was also a suspect of interest in several other internet scam complaints.

Stacl, Kranich, and Castilyn were all apprehended because victims contacted law enforcement.

The IC3 is the Internet Crime Complaint Center and can be found at here. When you know or suspect you are a target of cybercrime, it is important to notify law enforcement.

What else are the cybercrooks up to? In Australia there was the strange case of Tanya Maree Quattrocchi who was sentenced to jail for stalking and harassing (and hacking) an American Idol runner up, Diana Degarmo.  One of the stupidest cybercriminals of all time is Christopher Jacquette, who along with some friends, hacked into college computers and changed failing grades to As. This may at first glance seem like a victimless crime, however it affects class placement and hence scholarship, postgraduate and employment opportunities for honest students.

There are many types of cybercrime and the majority of these crimes, by number, are not the high-profile attacks that generally make the news. In future blogs I will highlight some of these crimes and how to minimize your risk for falling victim to such crimes

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