Posts tagged crime
Like numbers? Here’s some for your morning coffee… 2,904. 10. 2.4 million.
Those numbers are integral to what federal prosecutors in Brooklyn allege occurred on February 19, when a team of eight men scattered throughout the Borough of Manhattan to make 2,904 ATM withdraws in the space of 10 hours, making off with about $2.4 million in New York alone.
The heist was part of a larger global plot implemented at the same time that raked in about $45 million, all told.
According to the indictment, the eight-person team in New York was the final stage in a process that first involved hackers gaining access to an Indian credit card processing vendor and then eliminating the limits on prepaid MasterCard accounts. Using the unlimited cards, teams around the world raided bank ATMs for cash before they financial institutions knew what hit them.
The New York Times has more details on the ATM spree, which may be a taste of what’s to come as banks and credit card companies keep falling victim to criminal ingenuity.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
View full post on ReadWrite
There has been some excitement about the idea of using technology to address the problems of the Mexican Drug War. As someone involved in technology, I find it inspiring that other techies are trying to do something to end the conflict. However, I also worry when I read ideas based on flawed assumptions. For example, the assumption that “good guys” just need a safe way to report the “bad guys” to the cops reduces the Mexican reality to a kid’s story, where lines are easily and neatly drawn.
So, here are a few reasons why building tools to enable citizens to report crime in Mexico is problematic and even dangerous.
- Anonymity does not depend only on encryption. Criminals do not need to rely on advanced crypto-techniques when information itself is enough to figure out who leaked it. Similar ideas are being discussed by researchers trying to figure out how to identiy future Wikileaks-like collaborators, something they call Fog Computing. The point is, the social dynamics around the Drug War in Mexico mean that people are exposed when they post something local. In an era of big data, it’s easy to piece things together, even if the source is encrypted. And, sadly, when terror is your business, getting it wrong doesn’t matter as much.
- Criminal organizations, law enforcement, and even citizens are not independent entities. Organized crime has co-opted individuals, from the highest levels of government down to average citizens working with them on the side– often referred to as “halcones.”
- Apprehensions do not lead to convictions. According to some data, “78% of crimes go unreported in Mexico, and less than 1% actually result in convictions.” Mexico is among those countries with the highest indices of impunity, even with high-profile cases such as the murder of journalists. All this is partly because of high levels of corruption.
- Criminal organizations have already discovered how to manipulate law enforcement against their opponents–there is even a term for it: “calentar la plaza“– the sudden increase of extreme violence in locations controlled by the opposite group, with the sole purpose of catching the attention of the military, which eventually takes over, and weakens the enemy.
The failure of crowdsourcing became evident only a few weeks ago with a presidential election apparently plagued with irregularities. Citizens actively crowdsourced reports of electoral fraud and subsequently uploaded the evidence to YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Regardless of whether those incidents would affect the final result of the election, the institutions in charge seem to have largely ignored the reports. One can only imagine what would happen with the report of highly profitable crimes like drug trafficking.
Crowdsourcing is not entirely flawed in the Mexican context, though. We have seen people in various Mexican cities organize organically to alert one another of violent events, in real time. But these urban crisis management networks do not need institutions to function. However, law enforcement does, unless one is willing to accept lynching and other types of crowd-based law enforcement.
In sum, as Damien Cave mentioned, what Mexico needs is institutions, and the people willing to change the culture of impunity. Technologies that support this kind of change would be more effective than those imagined with a “first world” mindset.
Thanks to danah boyd for helping me think through some of these ideas.
View full post on ReadWriteWeb
Search Engine Land
How Big Data Changed Crime Fighting & Is Changing The Practice Of SEO
Search Engine Land
Driven by mature technology that gathers, stores and analyzes natural search data over time and allows for segmentation on a 'neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis', this information empowers SEO professionals to discern trends and communicate, …
View full post on SEO – Google News
In the mid 1990’s, New York city Mayor Rudolph Giuliani introduced a technology-based crime measurement system called CompStat. The system enabled Police leadership, for the first time, to discern crime trends and respond to crime fluctuations on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis rather than the…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Whether or not jailbreaking or rooting one’s smartphone is a legal act isn’t something most of us in the U.S. have had to think about for some time. That’s because, in 2010, the U.S. Copyright Office declared that jailbreaking devices is not a violation of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Fine, said Apple, but it will still void your warranty and we bet it will screw up your phone.
Despite the company’s official disapproval, jailbreaking iOS is still big among a certain subset of users, as evidenced by the popularity of the A5 Absinthe tool that was released last Friday. But should people in the jailbreak community continue to rest easy, assured that freeing their devices will forever remain legal? Probably not.
That’s because the notion that jailbreaking is legally acceptable wasn’t established by, say, a Supreme Court ruling and all of the weight of legal authority that that would entail. Instead, it was a directive from the U.S. Copyright Office. So the thing can expire. That could happen soon, warns the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The only way to ensure that this doesn’t happen, says the EFF, is for everyone to let the Copyright Office know that they would prefer to see jailbreaking remain legal, and why. There’s a comment form that lets them do that.
In addition to smartphones, the EFF wants the Copyright Office to add exemptions for tablets and video game consoles as well. Two years ago, the tablet market simply wasn’t what it is today, let alone the jailbreak community around it.
Video game consoles have been hacked and modded for years, but more recent tinkering with Microsoft’s Kinect in particular has brought the true potential of the technology to the forefront. Even though Microsoft itself has embraced Kinect-hacking, the EFF doesn’t want to let this kind of user-modification of game consoles slip through the legal cracks.
View full post on ReadWriteWeb
Maybe Marc Goodman’s talk from the Strata Summit on the business of illegal data grabbed me because I just finished watching the entire series of The Sopranos from start to finish last week. But even if you don’t have a penchant for mob shows, Goodman’s talk is worth the time to watch.
As we wax on about the wonders of big data, Goodman reminds us “the more data you produce, the more criminals are happy to receive what you produce.”
Much of that, he says, is stolen by organized crime. Goodman says 85% of data stolen is stolen by organized crime.
The criminal underground, says Goodman, has already figured out systems to take advantage of data. Whether that’s data with obvious value like credit card information, or not so obvious. Goodman says that “social data is great for criminal underground.” How do they get it? Two main ways, one is malware. The other? Social engineering.
Business of Stolen Data
You know how prices for legitimate data services tend to normalize? Amazon and Rackspace, for example, price their cloud storage offerings pretty similarly. Well, Goodman says that stolen data has fairly standard pricing as well. In the market for stolen data, $10 will get you a stolen credit card with a $25,000 limit. For $700, you can get a bank account with a $82,000 balance.
The “good” news? A big one like the Sony PlayStation breach means that it drives the price down for data. Just like any other market, there’s supply and demand – and a big flood of data drives the price down.
The Sony PlayStation Network hack got a great deal of attention, but it turns out that it’s not even the biggest breach recently. Heartland Payment Systems was hacked to the tune of 130 million records in January 2009. TJX Companies were breached in 2007 for 94 million. Sony was “only” 77 million accounts. (You have to wonder how many unfortunate folks had their data compromised with Sony, Heartland and TJX.)
Crime as a Service
How do criminals scale? Goodman says “crimeware” is available, and there’s a full “illicit data supply chain” that happens across different organized crime groups around the world. Because there’s not enough acronyms in the world, Goodman calls this Crime as a Service (CaaS). This includes free demos, service level agreements (SLAs) and discounts for buying in bulk.
Even more impressive, or scary depending on your point of view, is that Goodman says that some CaaS providers offer 800 numbers to support their software.
Terrorist Use of Data
He also talks about terrorist use of data to plan attacks, and says that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were “the most technologically advanced attack planed by a terrorist organization to date.” What was different, says Goodman, was that terrorists were mining data in real time during the attack. Goodman’s final story will make you think a little more carefully about the information you put online.
Take a few minutes to watch Goodman’s talk, it’s definitely something to think about.
View full post on ReadWriteWeb
F-Secure released an infographic called “Online Shoppers Beware: What’s Lurking in Your Online Holiday Gift Purchase?”. Some interesting data: Top six online retailers – Expected Amazon, but was shocked by a few others 21 Million people will shop from mobile devices 53% of smartphone users will use their device to research – I use my [...]
Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal
View full post on Search Engine Journal
There are a number of questions people ask when looking for a new place to live: What are the schools like? How close is public transportation? Are there grocery stores nearby? But one of the most common concerns is safety. People want to know about the crime rates in cities and neighborhoods.
The real-estate Trulia launched a new product today called Crime Maps that should answer some of these questions. As the name suggests, the new tool lets people view and compare the frequency, types, and history of crimes across various cities in the U.S.
Crime Maps users can drill down into the crimes in specific neighborhoods and can easily compare statistics between different locations. The tool generates a heatmap so you can identify and differentiate high-crime and low-crime areas at a glance. Crimes are also broken down by time of day and by type – all helpful as you weigh whether you want to live in a neighborhood that has a propensity towards shootings or vandalism. The tool also lets you add information and advice so you can add your own comments on top of Trulia’s data.
“Historically, detailed and easy-to-decipher crime reports haven’t been easily accessible to the average citizen, and Trulia aims to bring that data to light at the most important moment – when people are deciding where they should live,” says Pete Flint, Trulia’s co-founder and CEO.
It makes good business sense for Trulia to be able to add this sort of data to its search offerings as this sort of hyperlocal is increasingly important. However, at launch, Crime Maps are only available in 50 counties.
View full post on ReadWriteWeb
As has been said innumerable times in the past 28 columns here, virtual goods represent a huge and growing global market, worth billions of dollars annually. That’s billions of real, not virtual dollars, mind you. But wherever there is money, ther…
View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest