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Romanian phishing busts were years in the making

Romanian phishing busts were years in the making
Romanian phishing busts were years in the making 

By Robert McMillan 
IDG News Service

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation spent years laying the 
groundwork for an investigation that led to the arrest of dozens of 
people involved in illegal phishing scams operated from Romania and the 
U.S., a senior FBI official said Friday.

Shawn Henry, who was appointed assistant director of the FBI's Cyber 
Division earlier this week, said he began meeting with Romanian police 
and lawmakers, including the country's minister of technology and 
minister of justice, in 2003 to help tackle the country's growing 
cybercrime problem.

Romanian crime gangs were hurting U.S. banks by tricking customers into 
giving up account numbers and passwords on phony "phishing" Web sites, 
but Romanian officials soon realized that the problem was also affecting 
businesses at home, too, because the problem was so bad that some 
companies were simply blocking all Internet traffic from Romania.

"Just at the time they were trying to merge with the West and get into 
NATO ... the U.S. and other Western nations were shutting them down 
because of the threat of crime," Henry said. "If they did not take this 
problem seriously, they were going to be left in the dark."

Since then Romania has taken some major steps to crack down on 
cybercrime, he said, by adding new hacking laws and strengthening its 
ability to fight computer crime. "They really committed themselves to 
the problem."


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