Saturday, June 13, 2009

Does hacking fund terrorism? Maybe so

I'm still waiting to see evidence that music and move piracy has been used to fund terrorism, but the Post has a remarkable story about hacking that may have funded terrorism.

The story also shows how hard it will be to deal with this problem. The scam featured a Jordanian and a bunch of Pakistanis and Filipinos operating out of the Philippines and Italy; they hacked into PBXes with weak security and then charged calls around the world to the unsuspecting companies that owned the PBXs. The calls were made from Italian call centers and generated profits that the authorities suspect went to terrorist groups in the Philippines.

But after a three-year FBI investigation, the Bureau arrested exactly zero suspects, and the indictment filed by Justice will sit in the NJ district court while the authorities in Italy and the Philippines decide what to do with the people they arrested. For a law enforcement culture that values busts and convictions, this can't be an entirely satisfying conclusion to a heavy investment in resources. But without that investment, our infrastructure will be increasingly at the mercy of organized crime and perhaps even terrorists.

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