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Government Threats

The most significant threat the government poses in the realm of illegal activity is the lack of intervention that governments around the world have made in cybercrime. Even though several laws that have passed in some countries, such as the U.S. and Australia, and in Europe have made progress, the average consumer is still faced with threats to her privacy and security on many fronts with little or no help from law enforcement agencies. The right to anonymity in the online world is, of course, desired by everyone, but this anonymity does help criminals hide their activities from the average consumer. Government intervention is slowly making its way into cybercrime cases, such as when U.S. courts have issued rulings requiring chat rooms or e-mail forums to reveal the names of people who have posted anonymous messages. However, some of these cases have been overturned, and the government must find its way through new precedents every time a cybercrime case is brought into court.

As we have seen in recent international cases, such as with the Russian hackers in 2001 who stole bank information, extraditing criminals for cybercrimes is next to impossible. The FBI estimates that more than one million credit card numbers have been stolen from e-commerce Web sites in 2000 and 2001 from hacker groups in Russia and the Ukraine. The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) was the main task force in tracking these thefts. The two alleged network intruders, identified as 20-year-old Alexey Ivanov and 25-year-old Vasiliy Gorshkov, were recently indicted on counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and violations of the Computer Crime and Abuse Act. The FBI and Department of Justice got a lot of information about the Russian and Ukrainian hacking of U.S. sites during this investigation. The FBI could not extradite the hackers, so it had to lure them to the U.S. with job offers and then arrest them. The great lengths the FBI had to go to to arrest these hackers is evidence of the weak cooperation between countries in tracking down hacking incidents.


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