Local Researchers Fighting Cybercrime

FOX 47 News

Thomas Holt, associate professor of criminal justice and an expert on cybercrime and identity theft. Photo: Image by G.L Kohuth

Local Researchers Fighting Cybercrime

By FOX 47 News. CREATED Mar 21, 2014

LANSING -- Cyber hackers are getting more sophisticated, which means efforts to keep your credit card information protected need to catch up.

"The offenders can live anywhere. They're not someone down the street. They're in Russia, Ukraine, or China," said Thomas Holt, asst. professor at MSU.

Holt held a cyber security conference on MSU's campus on Thursday that brought researchers from all over the globe. Together the group generated discussion and collaboration that will improve our knowledge of cybercrime.

"It isn't just a kid in the basement hacking. This is organized hackers who work together to steal info like the Target breach. That breach had to have taken ten to fifteen people."

Hacking has become a criminal business. It's unknown exactly how many people get hacked every day, but mass amounts of information are stolen and sold on black markets every year.

"You can buy 1,000 credit cards at ten dollars a piece. You can get $400 to $500 out of each card. That's a massive amount an offender can make," said Holt.

Policy response is a big part in updating our cyber security, said Holt. Even the Michigan State Police are looking to get involved.

"Just listening to some of the research has peaked our interest in how we can leverage that to enhance public safety," said Lt. Kyle Bowman, Commander for MSP Intelligence Operations.

Bowmans says he's looking at working with researchers to bring new ideas of detecting security breaches into the real world.

"Our next question is how does that work in a law enforcement environment? How would that work in prevention, or if we can't prevent it how do we make the apprehension?" said Bowman.

Researchers say the easiest way to protect yourself is to keep deleting your browser history. If you don't, that information is accessible to every website you visit.

"You can be tracked. If you ever noticed the advertisements on the side of your Gmail or Email account you'll notice they're targeted. It's because the cookies retained in your browser are passing that information through," said Holt.

Other ways to protect your information is to update your anti-virus software, and stick to well-known sites.

The computer isn't the only way information can get hacked. ATM skimming is another technique. That's when hackers steal your info while you're making a transaction.

The best way to prevent that is by using ATMs inside your bank.