TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: bbsting.txt

Police sting BBSers. Sysops read this!

The following is an article which appears in the April 7 issue of Infoworld:


By Jim Forbes
Infoworld Staff

AUSTIN, TX - Law enforcement officials here have joined a growing number of
police agencies nationwide running "sting" operations to catch persons using
bulletin boards for illegal purposes.

   Based on information posted on a bulletin board it operated, the Austin
Police Department said it has been able to turn off two pirate boards here and
expects shortly to make a number of arrests for misdemeanor violations of
Texas' newly enacted computer crime law.

   For more than two years, the department secretly ran a board called the
Underground Tunnel, which was set up to appear as a bulletin board run by a
system operator called Pluto.  But late last month - to the surprise of the
board's more than 1,000 users - Pluto was revealed as Sgt. Robert Ansley, a
seven-year veteran of the police department.

   "Most of the users were people interested primarily in several on-line
fantasy games or in electronic messaging," Ansley said.  "To get to the levels
where people posted information on how to crash corporate systems, the user had
to ask for increased access.  We were very careful not to solicit or entrap
anyone into leaving illegal information."

   The Austin police department disclosure caught most of the board's users by
surprise.  "I liked the board's electronic messaging capabilities," said user
Michael Whalen, the managing editor of the Daily Texan, the student newspaper
of the University of Texas here.  "I was really surprised at how the officer
was able to pull this off."

   What the police found, according to Ansley, included access codes belonging
to the world's largest credit reporting organization, TRW Information Services
Systems Division of Orange, California.  "Most offenders seem to be real big on
TRW," said Ansley.

   Sting and intelligence gathering bulletin board operations are on the rise
throughout the country, according to law enforcement officials.  Several police
departments nationwide have already used bulletin boards to track down and
arrest microcomputer users who post illegally obtained calling card codes,
mainframe access procedures and passwords, or other confidential information.
According to one high-lvel West Coast law enforcement officer who declined to
be identified, federal officials are now joining local authorities in running
bulletin boards in several key metropolitan areas.

   "You better believe law enforcement agencies are interested and, in some

    <This is all I found. Refer to Infoworld for the complete text>

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