In 1994 Vladimir Levin tricked computers at Citibank and several of Citibank’s customers into sending $10 million to himself. He was found out after accomplices were arrested at ratted him out. Citibank ultimately recovered most of the money, but still this case is important to study for a history of the threat. It should have underscored for us all that the criminal element will keep coming and coming and coming till they succeed. And that is exactly what has been happening.
The FBI summarized the case this way in their recap of criminal history:
The global dimensions of cyber crime, though, became apparent as early as 1994. That summer, from deep inside the heart of Russia, a young computer wiz named Vladimir Levin robbed a bank in the U.S. without ever leaving his chair. Over a two-month period, Levin—with the help of several conspirators—hacked into Citibank computers and transferred more than $10 million to accounts around the world using a dial-up wire transfer service. Working with Citibank and Russian authorities, FBI agents helped trace the theft back to Levin in St. Petersburg. Levin was soon lured to London and arrested.
For more on cyber threats see:
- Meet the new Cyber Czar (a Putin pal who fights to limit US Cyber interests)
- A Lesson From the First Cyber Cops
- Hannibal: I will either find a way or make one
- FBI vs Apple: History, Policy, Sovereignty and Individual Rights
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