Component Criminals Follow Illegal Market Chips, Circuits Become Thieves' New Loot in Computer Age

By Le Bien, Mark | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 21, 1996 | Go to article overview

Component Criminals Follow Illegal Market Chips, Circuits Become Thieves' New Loot in Computer Age


Le Bien, Mark, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Mark Le Bien Daily Herald Business Writer

Some law enforcers call it "the dope of the '90s."

They're referring to the sale of stolen computer components on a fast-growing illegal market that spans the globe.

Memory chips. Circuit boards. Integrated circuits. Disk drives. Laptop computers. They've become the loot of choice among a new class of criminals that has been spawned by the computer age.

Thieves steal chips and parts out of computers in offices late at night, break into component factories on weekends or snatch laptops out of parked cars. In bolder and more alarming cases, armed thugs raid companies in the middle of the day or hijack trucks loaded with components.

In one instance in California's Silicon Valley, thieves kidnapped a chip company executive and forced him to let them into his building.

"The problem is overwhelming," says Rich Bernes, head of the FBI's high-tech crime squad in San Jose, Calif. He notes that a stolen Pentium chip fetches the same amount of cash on the street as an ounce of cocaine.

What's driving the illegal trade? The marketplace, according to experts.

Right now, the world has an insatiable appetite for computer components, especially chips. They go into everything from computers to blenders to toys.

And when there's a supply shortage, as happens periodically, components become as valuable as drugs or jewels.

Theft is costing the electronics industry $8 billion a year, according to the Technology Theft Prevention Foundation. At its current growth rate, losses from high-tech crime will hit $200 billion by the turn of the century, the group estimates.

Those forecasts include losses from theft of "intellectual property" - customer lists, billing information, employee records and other essential data that can be stolen from computers.

For the moment, the problem is concentrated in high-tech centers in California, Texas and Boston. The Chicago area, not known as a high-tech hotbed, has gone relatively unscathed - so far.

But local experts say that could change as the region becomes home to more and more computer component suppliers.

"I think we're seeing the first signs of it as people become more aware of the numbers of (high-tech) manufacturers in Illinois," said Master Sgt. James Murray of the Illinois State Police and president of the Midwest chapter of the High Tech Crime Investigators Association.

Last year there were police reports of chip thefts at companies in Itasca, Barrington, Buffalo Grove and Vernon Hills. There was also a case in Wheeling where robbers surprised the driver of a truck parked at the loading dock of a company. The truck was filled with computers.

"They told him to get out and took the whole thing," says Murray. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Component Criminals Follow Illegal Market Chips, Circuits Become Thieves' New Loot in Computer Age
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.