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Are you safe? FBI combats cyber crime on popular social networking....
Are you safe? FBI combats cyber crime on popular social networking sites
Cyber criminals from around the globe are now targeting popular social networking sites, putting users in harm's way. How safe are you from becoming a victim?
Gordon M. Snow, the FBI's Assistant Director, testified recently before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, on the FBI's efforts to combat cyber crimes on social networking sites.
"The rapid expansion of the Internet has allowed us to learn, to communicate, and to conduct business in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago," Snow said. "Still, the same technology, to include the surge in the use of social networking sites over the past two years, has given cyber thieves and child predators new, highly effective avenues to take advantage of unsuspecting users."
Snow went on to note that cyber criminals use a variety of schemes to defraud or victimize innocent social networking site users. He focused on, social engineering, fraud schemes, phishing scams and data mining.
"Regardless of the social networking site, users continue to be fooled online by persons claiming to be somebody else," Snow said.
Unlike the physical world, individuals can misrepresent everything about themselves while they communicate online, ranging not only from their names and business affiliations (something that is fairly easy to do in-person as well), but extending as well to their gender, age, and location (identifiers that are far more difficult to fake in-person).
"Years ago, we called these types of people confidence or con men," Snow said. "Perhaps as a result of today’s high-tech times, con artists are now referred to as being engaged in social engineering."
It should come as no surprise to learn that the FBI is investigating classic investment fraud schemes, such as Ponzi schemes, that are now being carried out in virtual worlds. Other con artists are able to conduct identity theft crimes by misidentifying themselves on social networking sites and then tricking their victims into giving them their account names and passwords as well as other personally identifiable information.
In addition to identity theft crimes, child predators routinely use social networking sites to locate and communicate with future victims and other pedophiles.
"In at least one publicized case from last year, an individual attempted to extort nude photos of teenage girls after he gained control of their e-mail and social networking accounts," Snow said. "That particular FBI investigation led to an 18-year federal sentence for the offender, reflecting that these crimes are serious and will not be tolerated."
Are you safe? FBI combats cyber crime on popular social networking sites | San Diego Gay & Lesbian News
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