Keyboards Give Investigators Advantage vs. High-Tech Crime

By Kukec, Anna Marie | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 19, 2000 | Go to article overview

Keyboards Give Investigators Advantage vs. High-Tech Crime


Kukec, Anna Marie, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Criminals conjuring up Internet-related schemes thinking it will be easier to cover their tracks are probably in for a rude awakening.

Today's investigators are replacing rudimentary legwork with keyboards to track suspects of computer and Internet-related crimes.

"We're applying computer science to the police and legal process," said Thomas Varney, the Computer Forensics Services senior manager for Ernst & Young in Chicago. "We're the sexy part of information technology."

Varney, a former Secret Service agent, and other technology and law enforcement professionals are speaking at the Annual International Training Conference 2000, sponsored by the High Technology Crime Investigation Association, which began Sunday and runs through Wednesday at the Sheraton Arlington Park Hotel in Arlington Heights. They will discuss computer-related crimes, investigative techniques and tools to assist victims, including consumers, businesses and government agencies.

They have an incredible amount of territory to cover.

Consider this: A national poll released in June by the Information Technology Association of America found that 65 percent of those surveyed believe online criminals have less of a chance of being caught than criminals in the real world. About 1,000 Americans participated in the survey.

The poll also showed that 76 percent feel threatened by or are concerned about cyber crime. About 62 percent believe that not enough is being done to protect the Internet consumer.

A consumer's lack of enthusiasm for doing business on the Net seems justified in another survey.

In March, the Computer Security Institute found that 90 percent of the large corporations and government agencies surveyed detected computer security breaches in the past year.

About 74 percent acknowledged financial losses due to computer breaches. Of that group, 42 percent claimed loses totaling more than $265 million, the Institute reported.

These figures reflect why individuals, corporations and government agencies are all concerned about computer and Internet- related crimes. As the crimes become more sophisticated, more measures are being taken to investigate them, according to Varney.

For example, one of Varney's cases involved an employee who thought he wasn't paid enough. The man hacked into his company's computer system, and used the Internet to transfer about $150,000.

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