koobface: Inside a Crime Network
There is an episode of Star Trek in which Captain Kirk and Spock are confronted by their evil doppelgängers who are identical in every way except for their more nefarious,diabolical character.
The social networking community Facebook has just such an evil doppelgänger, and it is called Koobface.
Ever since the Internet emerged from the world of academia and into the world-of-the-rest-of-us, its growth trajectory has been shadowed by the emergence of a grey economy that has thrived on the opportunities for
enrichment that an open, globally connected infrastructure has made possible.
In the early years, cybercrime was clumsy, consisting mostly of extortion rackets that leveraged blunt computer network attacks against online casinos or pornography sites to extract funds from frustrated owners.
Over time, it has become more sophisticated, more precise: like muggings morphing into rare art theft.
The tools of the trade have been increasingly refined, levering ingenuous and constantly evolving malicious software (or malware) with tens of thousands of silently infected computers to hide tracks and steal credentials, like
credit card data and passwords, from millions of unsuspecting individuals.
It has become one of the world economy’s largest growth sectors—Russian, Chinese, and Israeli gangs are now joined by upstarts from Brazil,Thailand, and Nigeria—all of whom recognize that in the globally connected world, cyberspace offers stealthy and instant means for enrichmen