Computers have made the lives of everyone easier in a myriad of ways that would take at least a few lists to catalogue. This fact extends to criminals as well however, and with the march of technology, crime has moved onto the digital age as well.
Here are five cyber-crimes that made their mark thanks to computers.
5. Spam, Not Just for Dinner
The gateway to criminal activity is sometimes just as bad as the criminal activity itself. Robert Soloway started a group called SPAMIS, or “Strategic Partnership Against Microsoft Illegal Spam“, the irony of this must have been lost on Soloway, as he found himself under fire for the very thing he was supposedly against.
Claims against him included money laundering, identity theft, and yes even email fraud. He became so famous for it that he became known by prosecutors as “The Spam King.” Soloway found himself in a lot of hot water however, as Microsoft sued him and he was ordered to pay $7 million dollars of damages. He’s paid his dues and is out of prison on probation, but part of that probation is careful monitoring of his internet use.
4. The Rise and Fall of Max Butler
Sometimes a criminal has more ambition than common sense. It stands to reason that if decide to hack a bunch of hacker sites, and bring them under the umbrella of your own hacking website, that it might draw some attention. Max Butler, later changing his name to Max Vision, did just that however, as he made a hostile takeover of a number of black market credit card sites that in total came to be over 6000 users.
The best part was, he pulled it off, and successfully dragged the sites under his own site, then known as Cardersmarket.com. The worst part was, he pulled it off, and drew the attention of the FBI (his former emploers!), and all the hackers and criminals that he’d inadvertently angered with his outlandish gambit.
3. “Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin’”
Contrasting Max’s failure, Albert Gonzalez and his accomplices managed to steal millions of dollars from credit cards by hacking wireless signals in various businesses. Albert’s reign lasted almost four years, and in that time he made enough money to justify burying over a million of it in his parent’s back yard.
Of course, most criminals are brought down eventually, and Gonzalez was no different. He set a record for the longest prison term for computer hacking, and now serves his 17 to 25 year sentence.
2. The Worms Crawl in, the Worms Crawl Out
In 1999, David Smith revolutionized the world of Malware. With the Melissa worm, the first self replicating email virus, Smith managed to shut down computers the world over and make a mark for himself in hacker history.
Smith got off fairly light however, serving only 20 months in jail, though he admitted that the worm did over $80 million dollars of damage.
1. When Greek Gods Rob Banks
Hamza Bendelledj had one of the longer runs of success as a computer hacker. For six years, it’s alleged that Bendelledi managed to steal information from over 127 American Banks, which were an ideal target since he was not sitting in the US himself.
What he may be as well, is the designer of Zeus, the Trojan that allowed him to get into so many sites. Of course, “The Happy Hacker” known as such for smiling in his arrest photos, has also been captured.
All of these are merely incidents and people that have made headlines in cybercrime. Tune in another time for top cyber-crimes in general, and in the meantime, be careful with your passwords, especially anything that’ll let the bad guys at your money. And keep your security software up to date. It’s a crazy internet out there, so stay safe!!