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iPunk247
02-11-2008, 08:03 PM
MySpace becomes hackers' space

By Brent Hopkins brent.hopkins@dailynews.com 818-713-3738 Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 02/11/2008 10:11:49 AM PST

INTERNET: Security
a concern as online criminals get smarter.

It starts off innocently enough.
A probe launched from a laptop in a coffee shop or a spare bedroom. Hackers find a pretty girl or a popular guy goofing around with friends on MySpace or Facebook.

But the hackers don't just click and watch - they invite themselves into the youths' online world and make themselves at home. And whether by sophisticated, high-tech tools or just an old-fashioned guess of a password, they seize control of the account.

In doing so, the hackers have committed a felony - an increasingly common one.

"We're beginning to see more and more instances of people committing intrusions into social networks, PDAs, even cell phones," said Kathryn Showers, deputy in charge of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office's High Tech Crimes Division.

"The hackers are getting very sophisticated. They seem to think that the norms we expect for people's privacy don't apply to them. It's sort of like electronic voyeurism."

The attacks present a challenge for law enforcement agencies normally tasked with targeting gangsters and bank robbers because the crimes cross so many jurisdictions.

The cases have elements of everything from identity theft and fraud to cyber crime and extortion. With so many elements,
it's difficult to even classify the crimes, but Showers is working with local agencies to develop statistics on the frequency and range of offenses.

"It's a whole other element of crime to think about," said Sgt. Chris Colelli of the San Fernando Police Department, a former detective specializing in fraud.

"I could put pictures of you doing something compromising on the Internet, then extort money from you. And once the stuff's out there, it's almost impossible to get it back."

Later this month, Jeffrey Robert Weinberg is scheduled to face charges in San Fernando Superior Court of extortion, fraudulent and unauthorized computer access, unauthorized disruption of computer services and identity theft.

The 22-year-old Dana Point man, already on federal probation for previous cyber violations, allegedly broke into the MySpace account of a local teenager and demanded she send him nude photos.

"If she didn't send him some pictures, (he said) that he'd ruin her life online and her family's life," said Capt. Joseph Curreri of the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill Division.

"He told her if she ratted him out to the cops, that he'd have his friends take care of it."

It might seem trivial, but the manipulation of social networks can carry serious consequences.

Prosecutors are still looking to bring fraud charges against a Missouri mother who allegedly created a fake MySpace profile to torment her 13-year-old neighbor, Megan Meier, in 2006. Distraught about the deception, the girl hanged herself.

Lt. Rocky Costa of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Southern California High Tech Task Force gets requests to analyze computers used in online attacks several times a week.

"Most of the time, it's innocuous, not to commit a crime or threaten the president or anything," he said. "Instead, it's to harass and impersonate them.

"Sometime, we'll see it in a boyfriend-girlfriend situation where they post intimate pictures on an ex's Web site."

In addition to being embarrassing - and illegal - Costa sees this as a possible prelude to larger, more damaging acts of fraud. Once one account is compromised, the hacker can stumble across other information and gain access to bank accounts, medical records and other sensitive information contained online.

"I have watched the progression of computer technology in leaps and bounds," said Costa, a 32-year veteran of law enforcement. "I've seen a perfectly good tool become a tool for evil.

"When we see the little cracks in the armor, it may seem trivial today. Someday someone will open that crack into a huge problem."
Showers said it takes the average victim 25 hours to get things squared away after the theft of his or her identity. With 8.4million victims in 2006, that added up to $49.3billion dollars lost by businesses and individuals.

"One of the things that we're going to be dealing with for the next 20 years is what does privacy mean," Showers said. "Whether it's e-mail, voicemail, or personal medical information. This is not a victimless crime."
Although law enforcement agencies credit MySpace with proactively trying to stamp out intrusions - the company posts a list of instructions to prevent ID theft at myspace.com/safety - hackers keep finding ways to break through.

"We have no indication that it won't accelerate," said Bryan Duchene, supervisory agent in charge of the FBI's cyber division in Los Angeles. "If they get a little information, they usually want more, like getting into your credit cards. We never know how far it can go."
For more cops and courts news, visit our blogs It's a Crime and Order in the Court.

WebDudette
02-11-2008, 08:07 PM
People who have their accounts 'hacked' on Myspace are generally morons.

JohnnyNemesis
02-11-2008, 08:13 PM
Silly me. I always thought hacking and phishing were two different things.

WebDudette
02-11-2008, 08:17 PM
I would assume guessing a password is something completely different from both.

iPunk247
02-20-2008, 07:59 PM
i have a myspace profile but can i get any lame-oh's than that damm it please

Mota Boy
02-20-2008, 09:41 PM
Later this month, Jeffrey Robert Weinberg is scheduled to face charges in San Fernando Superior Court of extortion, fraudulent and unauthorized computer access, unauthorized disruption of computer services and identity theft.

The 22-year-old Dana Point man, already on federal probation for previous cyber violations, allegedly broke into the MySpace account of a local teenager and demanded she send him nude photos.HAHAHAHAHA!

Vera
02-21-2008, 02:16 AM
I learned about this on Fox News. It's just not fair. That guy had a girlfriend and they still put gay porn on his MySpace! :(