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FBI, UAB Students Snare Hackers

Cyber crime specialist, University of Alabama at Birmingham professor Gary Warner

Cyber crime specialist, University of Alabama at Birmingham professor Gary Warner

It’s a tale of intrigue that reads like a high-tech spy movie, the way NBC News tells it. Eastern European crooks tap computer gurus to intercept money in cyberspace, launder it, and put it in their bank accounts. The FBI nicknamed their efforts to stop the crimes as Project Trident Beach, working to stop the money-sucking computer bug from any further damage.

Enter Prof. Gary Warner, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who teaches classes on computer forensics while also helping the FBI with its computer crime-related investigations.

The FBI caught almost all of those involved, headquartered in the Ukraine, but some 18 of the money movers were still at large. Warner’s students took on the challenge.

“So the students used the techniques we had taught them during investigating online crime [class] and began crawling Facebook pages and VKontakte, which is a Russian version similar to Facebook and were able to quickly identify profile pages of almost all of them, at-large mules,” Warner told NBC’s Brian Williams.

All but one were caught, but Warner continues to urge Americans to be wary of sneak attacks on their private information.

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