Money mules growing in presence; and an SC Christmas thought

December 21, 2007
If in the past, online financial fraud was the work of one or two people, those days are long gone. When police bust a cybercrime operation these days, more times than not authorities reveal the syndicate had many layers.

Perhaps most important among them are the money mules, the people responsible for laundering illegal funds and transferring them to the perpetrators. In the most recent case, Dutch police nabbed 14 suspects who let a Russian- and Ukraine-based cybercrime gang use their ABN Amro bank accounts to transfer cash.

These money mules are often recruited via "work-from-home" email scams and the like, and many times, when the police knock on their door, they have no clue that they were just participating in a widespread scheme to defraud victims out of their hard-earned money.

But this trend will only continue as sly hackers shield themselves from jail with a never-ending supply of stupid people trying to get rich quick.

I digress. It's the holidays, and I need to get out of here.

As a final note, I wanted to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas.

This begs the question, of course, how does Santa protect his workshop? I mean he arguably may be the custodian for the largest amount of data in the world - what with the names and addresses (and wish lists) of every Christmas-celebrating household in the world.

Spear phishing anyone?

But then again, he may be protected by good 'ole security-by-geography. Does he have any web-facing applications? And what crazy wireless hacker would want to brave 40-degree-below-zero temperatures in the North Pole to pry his way in?
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