There has been so much yammering about "public-private partnerships" to fight online crime that we've all become jaded. The partnerships often seemed in name only and without a lot in the way of accomplishments. But I believe the future of effectively fighting online crime does indeed require teamwork so I was delighted to read in Dark Reading about Operation Ghost Click.
This extraordinary collaboration between international law enforcement agencies, private industry and non-government organizations led to the charging of seven Estonian and Russian citizens over a global click fraud scheme that had, unbelievably, infected more than 4 million computers and raked in more than $14 million for the criminals.
The group allegedly infected computers with DNSChanger - malware that changed the systems' domain-name servers, redirecting requests for website addresses through a network of criminal-controlled hosts. For four years, the group allegedly created false advertising clicks to businesses that paid affiliate fees, defrauding the firms.
In a Who's Who of good guys, the FBI worked with the Estonian Police and Border Guard, the Dutch National Police and NASA's Office of the Inspector General. The private sector good guys included Georgia Tech University, the Internet Systems Consortiuim, security firm Mandiant, the anti-spam group Spamhaus, the security intelligence firm Team Cymru, Trend Micro, the University of Alabama and an ad hoc group of subject matter experts called the DNS Changer Working Group.
With a flip of a switch, the rogue DNS servers wre replaced by legitimate ones run by the Internet Systems Consortium.
Way to rock the house guys and pave the way for future "online posses."
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