Police forces in a number of countries have foiled an alleged cybercrime ring thought to be responsible for losses of £530 million … by using Facebook. According to the FBI, ten suspects have been arrested globally, including people from the UK, US, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand and Peru.
Facebook users were targeted over two years beginning in October 2010. The gang responsible allegedly used a botnet – a network of computers that have been infected by a virus that allows a hi-tech criminal to use them remotely – to steal credit card, bank account and other personal information from victims.
The authorities worked with Facebook to uncover the alleged source of the attacks, as well as identifying which users may have been hit – thought to be 11 million computer systems which were compromised by multiple variants of malicious software known as Yahos. Cybersecurity teams working on the investigation included Get Safe Online Partner SOCA (the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency), who raided a property in Molesey, Surrey on Tuesday morning. A man was arreseted on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act and has been released on bail.
Instances of cybercrime on Facebook are very common – not least phishing attacks which attempt to dupe users into divulging their personal details such as passwords or payment information.
The site has also been used effectively to fight crime, however. Last year, Lothian and Borders Police trialled a scheme to enable people to report criminals via the site, whilst in India, Delhi Traffic Police encourage people to report cases of bad driving.