In a cybercrime breakthrough, federal authorities have quietly cracked down on some of the biggest Internet crime rings, reports USA Today. Secret Service and FBI operations since January have broken up a huge forum for stolen credit cards and shut down the world’s largest spam ring. Investigations have led to indictments of other high-profile spammers and 11 people allegedly behind the computer break-in at TJX and other major retailers. The FBI and Secret Service do not provide annual cybercrime statistics, but high-profile arrests are significantly up this year, says Shawn Henry, assistant director of the FBI Cyber Division.
Dozens of such actions reflect better-trained agents and prosecutors, stronger laws and more cooperation from crime fighters overseas. Strides in cybercrime fighting are particularly important now because most security experts point out that fraud soars during economic downturns. Cybercrime is an estimated $200 billion market. For the first time, “It’s not a question of whether you will be caught, but when,” says Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer of MySpace who, as a Microsoft executive, crafted a $250,000 bounty in late 2003 that led to the arrest of infamous German hacker Sven Jaschan.