Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the FBI has used hacker techniques to catch criminals during the last few years.
In 2005, a local unemployed engineer attempted to extort verizon, AT&T, and comcast. This guy got caught up in the technology. He cut important communications cables and demanded payment to stop his activities. The big three communications companies were instructed to set up bank accounts and deposit ransom.
The engineer incorrectly assumed that he could mask his identity and monitor the accounts with his computer over the Internet. There are Internet services that are designed to hide your identity but your identity can be easily disclosed by law enforcement.
This situation was like caller id on your telephone. Did you know that you can't really block your caller id information? Pressing the keys to block your caller id doesn't really hide your identity. A well known hacker demonstrated that caller id information is easily available even when the caller blocks.
Internet services designed to hide your identity do work for harmless pranks but when crimes are involved, you would be shocked at how easy it is to find the source of a problem.
A high school prankster thought that email bomb threats were funny. This wiz kid emailed a bomb threat and announced that the school network would go down at a specific time. When the network failed at the appointed time, it really shook up the faculty. He was apprehended after he was hoodwinked by the FBI. This genius was fooled by a link on MySpace and downloaded spyware that gave the FBI information to prove that he was the clown sending bomb threats.
A client once asked me, "Have you ever hacked into anything?". I replied, "No". She remarked that she was disappointed that I didn't know how to hack.
"You asked me if I hacked, you didn't ask if I knew how....". It doesn't take a genius to do a crime. Everyone knows how to rob a bank but how many people rob banks?
Here are some interesting unanswered question to consider. Are antivirus companies aware of FBI or other spy organizations secret software? Are antivirus programs going to disclose that your computer is infected by FBI, NSA, CIA, or other spy organization secret software? Do spy organizations monitor Internet traffic?
What is the moral of the story? "CRIME DOES NOT PAY" should be obvious but there is a less apparent powerful idea. You can depend on technology to provide information.
Carefully consider your keystrokes. Someone could be watching....