By Lee Rondganger
July 19, 2006
Johannesburg: Sophisticated crime syndicates could be behind the recent
wave of internet crimes.
As cyber crime becomes a lucrative business, organised crime bosses are
looking increasingly at the internet to expand their criminal empires.
This is according to American IT expert Richard Archdeacon, who was in
South Africa recently.
Archdeacon, a director at IT security company Symantec, said international
trends showed that crime syndicates were increasingly focusing their
attention on internet fraud.
"What we are seeing is a Mr Big, who is a hardcore criminal employing
skilled IT people who develop (hacking) codes that can be used against
organisations," he said.
Recently, hi-tech fraudsters have hacked into dozens of South African
companies and made off with more than R30 million.
In a single incident two weeks ago, a hacker bypassed a company's security
system and transferred R3.6 million into a bogus account.
No one has yet been arrested.
Ian Melamed, an internet fraud investigator with Shaya InfoSec, said the
internet security company had investigated several incidents in which
large corporations' computer systems had been breached.
He said in some cases fraudsters had installed key loggers on computers
that held the user identification and passwords of staff responsible for
paying suppliers. They followed the employees' key strokes, set up fake
suppliers and invoices, and made payments without the companies knowing.
Peter Gastrow, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies'
organised crime department, said cyber crime was "a global phenomenon".
Colin Thornton, director of Dial-A-Nerd, said 50% of the IT support
company's work involved clearing PCs of spyware and adware.
He warns of "wireless hacking" in which fraudsters sit outside wireless
internet establishments and broadcast a wireless signal.
An unsuspecting PC user will think he is logged into the local network
when, instead, he is logged into the signal of the hacker, who will have
unlimited access to his PC and all he types in.
Copyright 2006 The Cape Times & Independent Online (Pty) Ltd.
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