The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Breaking News

April 17, 2014

Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Chester Wisniewski, senior security adviser for the computer security firm Sophos, says it's the Secret Service's ability to coordinate with law enforcement agencies around the world that make it effective in fighting cybercrime and help speed things up.

"With electronic crime, criminals move extremely fast and they're dependent on the police being tied up in red tape," Wisniewski says.

But challenges remain. After years of work, agents might be able to shut down a message board where stolen credit card numbers are bought and sold, but there's nothing to stop another from replacing it the next day, he says.

Meanwhile, political and economic pressure on countries known to harbor cybercriminals can also help, Wisniewski says, noting that U.S. promises of a better trade status helped eliminate much of the cybercrime that previously originated in Romania.

Despite all of that, many countries, including Russia, follow an unwritten rule: they won't pursue cybercriminals as long as they don't commit crimes in their own countries, Wisniewski says.

Baranoff says criminals could evade U.S. capture indefinitely if they stay hunkered down in their homes, but they're generally not happy staying put and like to spend their ill-gotten gains on trips to countries friendly to the U.S.

That's when authorities can make their move.

"These actors are making a lot of money and they want to travel," Baranoff says. "Some have suggested that there's no greater punishment actually than forcing them to stay where they are."

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