AP photo/Nick Ut
Keith Bolcar, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, announces the arrests of dozens of people in an identity theft ring. U.S. and Egyptian
authorities charged 100 people with helping the ring steal money from thousands of bank accounts.
hen Hugh Jackman’s hacker often, this involves scammers sending
State-sponsored character in the 2001 movie emails purporting to be from legitimate
cybercrime is a Swordﬁsh attempted to steal businesses and agencies to lure consum-
$9.5 billion from a secret U.S. govern- ers to counterfeit websites designed to
touchy subject for ment slush fund, he used his advanced elicit ﬁnancial data, such as usernames
computer skills to write elaborate code. and passwords.
law enforcement Ten years later, that strategy is getting a “Apart from increasing globaliza-
because of the political little archaic. According to information tion, one of the biggest things [in
security experts, the hacker of today is cybercrime] is the combination of
complications that more likely to use a much less technical hacking and social engineering,” says
process to gain entry to the vault. Seth Kosto, one of two prosecutors in
can result, reports With a method known as social the Computer Hacking and Intellec-
Matthew Heller. engineering, hackers don’t need to ﬁnd tual Property (CHIP) unit of the U.S.
the vulnerabilities in a computer system, attorney’s ofﬁce in New Jersey. “It’s an
they exploit the vulnerabilities of the example of cybercriminals recognizing
human beings who use the system. Most that the coolest way into a computer
36 SC • July 2010 • www.scmagazineus.com