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Cyberspace investigations

by Bruno Deshayes on 22 Dec 2016 permalink
Do not believe everything you see on the net. Yet at the same time journalists spend more time than ever trying to identify the latest trends and report on it. Organised crime constantly looks for loopholes in corporate and government security. Detectives match profiles on social media and elsewhere to follow the trail of their target.

Recently police have nabbed some rather nasty rings of child pornography. This only came about through international coordination of law enforcement to make it an offence to hold such material.

Russian Business Network (RBN) was registered as an internet site in 2006. Initially, much of its activity was legitimate. But apparently the founders soon discovered that it was more profitable to host illegitimate activities and started hiring its services to criminals. The RBN has been described by VeriSign as "the baddest of the bad". It offers web hosting services and internet access to all kinds of criminal and objectionable activities, with individual activities earning up to $150 million in one year. It specialized in and in some cases monopolized personal identity theft for resale. It is the originator of MPack and an alleged operator of the Storm botnet.

The internet is rife with snake-oil remedies to cure everything from obesity to cancer but thankfully you can trawl your search term to correlate information from other sources. Wikipedia is a good source to look at because it is updated by so many contributors.

In the past investigative work involved a trip to the library and a copious number of phone calls. Today everything is available at the click of the mouse. Yet we are no better off because we are swamped by an information overload.

A good way to manage this challenge is to subscribe to RSS feeds. Instead of visiting at random your favourite informative websites the RSS will simply tell you who out of all the sites you monitor has something new to read.

Another method is to benefit from the research of other people who have the same fields of interest as you have. You can follow them on Twitter and filter the streams through hashtags.

Politicians are ever so scrutinized for the next gaffe. Political parties have their own intelligence arm to spy on the opposite side of parliament hoping someone might inadvertently fall on their sword.

WikiLeaks is an Australian made international organization that publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of otherwise unavailable documents while preserving the anonymity of sources. Its website, launched in 2006, is run by The Sunshine Press. Within a year of its launch, the site claimed a database that had grown to more than 1.2 million documents.


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