Why Can't the Law Get the Crooks?

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Victor Rodriguez wants to know why law enforcement agencies can't stop the criminals infecting our PCs.

Believe it or not, authorities do occasionally catch cybercriminals. Just last month, British detectives arrested two suspects who may have been involved with the ZeuS/Zbot Trojan.

Not that it did much good. A few weeks later, security researcher Troy Gill declared a new variant of Zbot "the most predominant virus/phishing campaign right now."

And that's a big part of the problem. As with drugs and prostitution, if there's money to be made in an illegal activity, people will be there to make it. Arrest two, and 20 more are waiting to take their place.

If you have no scruples, cybercrime makes a tempting way to make a living. It can be highly profitable, you can do it from any place in the world where you can get an Internet connection, the punishments are lax compared to violent crime, and your chances of getting caught are relatively low.

Which brings us to Victor's original question: Why isn't someone arresting these people?

I put this question to technology lawyer and former PC World columnist Mark Grossman. He told me that the methods needed to catch these criminals "are time consuming, expensive, and usually involve cooperation between multiple countries. It's a question of resources and international cooperation. For the most part, we lack both resources and cooperation."

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