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Friday, March 02, 2007


In the 1970’s when you used the term “organized crime,” everyone assumed you were talking about the “Mob,” or the Mafia. They are still involved in the identity crisis, but now the term organized crime has broadened to mean anyone with the technological insight to steal what has become the hottest commodity in the 21st century: your name and personal data. The Washington Post had an excellent article in December, “Cyber Crime Hits the Big Time in 2006,” which I have already blogged on once. The reason for the sequel here is to emphasize the driving force behind this new crime family. “Botnets.” Software robots that run autonomously on a series of computers that have been “taken over,” and which are the main ingredient for phishing scams to steal your financial data, such as credit card numbers. Virus protection helps, but the crooks still expect to earn around $2 billion a year in the practice. Researchers say that online fraud will get even more sophisticated in 2007. Botnets are a “kissing cousin” to artificial intelligence data mining, the primary method used by the NSA to spy on innocent Americans.

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