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
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
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