June 30, 2004

And now . . . this

Here's a good story about cyber-blackmail in Maryland:

A Maryland man with a grudge against a Connecticut-based patent firm used unsecured wireless networks at homes and businesses in the Washington D.C. area to penetrate the company's computers and deliver untraceable threats and extortion demands, until an FBI surveillance team caught him in the act. . . . .

At one point, the company president tried to use a "Web bug" to trace his cyber tormenter, but Tereshchuk detected the ruse. Meanwhile, FBI agents traced some of the e-mails and intrusions to two homes and a dentist's office in Arlington, Virginia. The residents, and the dentist, made poor suspects, and the agents learned that all three were running unsecured 802.11b networks.

So far, so good. Our crook has taken some serious steps here to keep himself anonymous. He does wardriving to locate insecure wireless networks to mask his identity. He successfully defeats the company's countermeasures.

And then . . .

Though he went to some lengths to make himself untraceable technically, past altercations between Tereshchuk and the company made him the prime suspect from the start, according to court records. The clearest sign came when he issued the seventeen million dollar extortion demand, and instructed the company to "make the check payable to Myron Tereshchuk."

[Full Story]

D'oh!