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High-Tech Crimes Revealed: Cyberwar Stories from the Digital Front

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High-Tech Crimes Revealed: Cyberwar Stories from the Digital Front


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  • Copyright 2005
  • Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • Pages: 448
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-21873-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-21873-5

Stories about hacking, stolen credit card numbers, computer viruses, and identity theft are all around us, but what do they really mean to us? The goal of this book, quite simply, is to help educate people on the issues with high-tech crimes.

High-Tech Crimes Revealed: Cyberwar Stories from the Digital Front demystifies the risks and realities of high-tech crimes. Demystifying these crimes and raising the awareness of users of technology will make people smarter and safer, and that will make all of us safer in the long run.

Steven Branigan shares the inside details of real cases he worked on in his various roles in law-enforcement, information technology, and security. The result is a comprehensive, accessible look at how digital crimes are discovered, what techniques the criminals use and why, and (in some cases) how they can be brought to justice.

Inside, you'll find extensive information on

  • Actual hacker investigations, including the harm caused and how the criminals were tracked and caught
  • The ins and outs of identity theft, a rapidly growing crime with potential for serious damage
  • Using the criminology and psychology of hackers to detect and deter attacks
  • The risks associated with various technologies
  • Do's and don'ts for high-tech criminal investigations

This easily understandable book will take you beyond hearing about high-tech crimes to actually understanding how and why they happen—and what can be done to protect yourself.

"Most books on this topic impart knowledge in the form of techniques and methods. This book differs in that it imparts Steven Branigan's experience in the field, and real case studies in which problems are framed and effective solutions are crafted. In this respect this book imparts not only knowledge, but Steve's experience and wisdom as well."

—Mike Tarrani, Independent Consultant

"Steven Branigan provides a gripping account of what's involved in investigating computer crime. I strongly recommend this book to any security practitioner or anyone with an interest in computer security."

—Michael Nickle, Lead Consultant, VeriSign

"Being on the inside of several high-tech busts has given Steven Branigan the ability to make this book intriguing enough to keep high-tech types interested, while also doing a superb job of demystifying these real-life cases in a way that anyone can read and enjoy."

—David Kensiski, Director of Operations, InfiniRoute Networks

"The modern high-tech industry brought new things to our lives. Buying a book, selling a car, or robbing a bank has never been so easy. Why is that? You've got to read this book to find out!"

—Denis Scherbakov, Systems Administrator, MCSA: Security, MCSA, MCP, Security+Atlant Telecom, ISP

"Steven Branigan has been deeply involved with many real incidents of high-tech crimes—some of them I know of are too sensitive to disclose by name. Yet, High-Tech Crimes Revealed gives outsiders an opportunity to find out what actually takes place in this often-misunderstood field. By combining his powerful knowledge of computers and technology with the legal and behavioral considerations that are overlooked by those less experienced, Branigan demonstrates just how much private industry and government need to cooperate in order to find the facts and identify criminals. While his topic is deadly-serious, he conveys his riveting stories with humor and distills observations into clearly understood rules that we all should know as we go about our lives."

—Ed Stroz, Former Supervisory Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Computer Crime Squad in New York and President of Stroz Friedberg LLC

"Steven brings us behind the scenes of some very exciting hacker investigations and interviews, and tells the stories like few others. This book is an exciting read because he describes the people and their actions, showing us how these new-age crimes can affect all of us."

—Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

"Finally, real-life credible stories that deliver first-hand accounts of tactical and strategic high-tech operations. This book is a rare look into what goes on behind the scenes. Take a front row seat with the author as he brings you into a world few have seen."

—Bob Weaver, Retired Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Investigative Division, U.S. Secret Service, Washington, D.C.

"Steve's intellect and real-world experience in criminal investigations, forensic analysis, and security principles is evident on every page. Sprinkle in some sound advice and a bit of humor and you have a book that is interesting, informative, and most of all, useful. I highly recommend it."

—Fred Staples, Retired Director of Computer and Network Security Consulting for Telcordia Technologies

"This book details story after story of computer crimes and identity theft. The best way to prevent yourself from being a victim is to take these narratives to heart."

—Ben Rothke, Senior Security Consultant, ThruPoint Inc.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Sample Content

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Cyberwar Stories: If He Had Just Paid the Rent

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Table of Contents



1. An Attack on the Telephone Network.

     The First Meeting.

     The Beginning.

      Follow Up.


      The Management Update.

      A Review of the Data….

      Decisions, Decisions….

      Off to See the Law.

      Building the Search Warrant.

      Execution of the Warrant.

      The Computer Forensics.

      The End Game .


2. An Attack on an ISP.

   Starting Up a Case.

      A Simple Call to Customer Support.

      Handle the Crisis.

      What Are the Options.

    You Can Never Find…

      The Investigation Begins.

      The Search Warrant.

      A Method for Performing a Computer Search Without Removing Equipment.

      Post-Evidence Collection.

     A Surprising Find.

      Call in the Feds.

      Squeezing the CW Like a Lemon.

      Coming to America.

     Time for Another Search.

      Finding an Unlisted ISP.

      Package Up the Data.

     Pulling It Back Together.

     The Conclusion.

3. If He Had Just Paid the Rent.

    The Eviction.

     A Simple Twist.


     Time to Collect the Stuff.

     The Initial Examination.

     The Previous Owner.

     The Prosecution.

     Why Speeding Is Not Such a Good Idea.

     Fugitive Lessons.

     The Fugitive’s Choice.

     Wesley’s Moves.



4. Inside a Hacker Sting Operation…

    Operation Cybersnare Background.

     Being a Confidential Informant.

     The Sting Starts.

     Forensic Findings.

     The Seven Steps of Hacking.

     Time to Act.

     The Leftovers.

5. Identity Theft.

     What Is Identity Theft?

     How Did We Get Here?

      Purchasing on Credit.

     The Resultant Crimes.

      Credit Card Fraud.

      Utility Subscription Fraud.

      Bank Fraud

      Employment Fraud.

      Loan Frauds.

      Government Document/Benefits Fraud.


     What and When Do People Notice?

     What To Do if You Are a Victim.

      Discover Any Criminal Issues.

      Secure Your Credit.

     What Else Can Be Done?


      Business and Law Enforcement.

6. Let’s Ask the Hackers…

    Bob Gets Some Attention.

      The Initial Exam of the Drive.

      Evaluating the Damage.

      The Hacker Interview.

      Preferred Target: Technology Companies.

      Hacked and Re-Hacked Systems.

      Controlled by an Uber-Hacker.

     Another Hacker–Alphie.

      Off to the Prison.

      Hacking Tools.

      Motivation for Creating Tools.

7. Why Do Hackers Hack?

    Technology Itself Isn’t the Solution.

     Know Your Adversary.

      Pseudo-Hacker Types.

     What Drives Them?

     The Hacker Motivations.

      Revenge .

      Profit .

      Hacking Money and Monetary Tools.


      Intellectual Challenge (Curiosity).

    Further Refinements.

    Insiders: Motivated by Profit and Revenge.

    Outsiders: Motivated by Profit and Curiosity.

    What Can Be Done?

8. Setting the Stage.

    The Growth of High-Tech Crime.

     In the Beginning….

      Phone Systems and Voicemail.

      Timeshare Systems.

      The Drive to Network.

     Distributed Computing Begins.

      Setting the Corporate Network Stage.

      More Useful Networks.

      Remote Access to Data.

     Today’s Corporate Network.


     The Result of Network Evolution.


      Virus Scanners.

      Web Proxies.


      Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

     The Network Growth.

     What Upsets Network Security.

      Business Partner Connectivity.

      Merger or Divestiture.

      Introduction of New Services.

      Internal Employees That Know a Better Way to Do Something.

     Closing Thoughts.

      Increased High Technology.

      Convenience Reduces Security.

      Static Security Policies.

9. High-Tech Crime .

    Why Is High Technology Popular?

     What Is a High-Tech Crime?

      Computer Hacking Attacks.


      Technology Used in the Commission of a Crime.

      Technology as the Target of a Crime.

     The Growing Threat.

     Information IS the Target.

      Information Copying.

      Credit Card Number Theft.

      Deleting or Altering Information.


     Complexities with High-Tech Crimes.

      Jurisdiction Issues.

      Corporate Role.

      Forensic Examinations.

      Intelligence of the Criminal.

     What About Private Citizens?

     High-Tech Versus Society.



10. What Not to Do.

     What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

       Analyzing the Options.

      Trouble on the Horizon.

      Mistakes, Mistakes.

      Is Everything Lost?

     Some Lessons.

      Management Team Issues.

      Poor Case Management.

      Impatience–Rushing Cases.

      Lacking of Understanding of the Technology Being Investigated.


      Bad Luck.

11. How to Run a High-Tech Case.

     Some Concerns.

     The Basics.

     How Does a Case Start?

      Unsolicited Report.

      Personally Witness.

      Automated Detection.

      Leads from Another Investigation.

      High-Tech Reporting Issues.

     Actively Investigating the Case.

      Establish the Case Parameters.

      Evidence Collection.

      Maintain Records.

      Issues with Evidence Collection.

     Make Your Move.

     See the Case Through.

     The End Game.

12. What Have We Learned.

     A High-Tech Crime Timeline.

     Warning Labels.

     A Virtual Identity Makes Crime Easier.

     Computers in Society.

      Business Improvements.

      Home Improvements.

     Running Ahead of Ourselves.

     Is There Hope?

     How to Respond.

      Improved Laws and Law Enforcement.

      Improved Handling of Internal Hackers.

      Increased Awareness of High-Tech Crime.

     Parting Thoughts.

Appendix A.

    Additional Information for Part 4, “Inside a Hacker Sting Operation”.

      Operation Cybersnare.

     Additional Information for Part 6, “Let’s Ask the Hackers”.




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