How to attack internet crooks

How to attack internet crooks
Amputating a vital part made it harder for a pirate.

There’s a lot of cybercrime out there. But what can we do to stop it when criminals can remain anonymous? Noah Shachtman wrote a paper suggesting that we cripple their economic support systems:

First and foremost: Target the relatively small number of companies that support this massive criminal underground. There are more than 5,000 Internet service providers around the globe; according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, half the world’s spam traffic comes from just 50 ISPs. A recent study of mass e-mail campaigns showed that three payment companies processed 95 percent of the money those scams generated. When the Silicon Valley-based McColo hosting company was taken down, worldwide spam dropped 65 percent overnight.

Mr. Shachtman compares modern criminal behavior on the internet with 18th and 19th Century naval piracy. When pirates began to threaten various government’s economic interests, one of the first steps they took was to eliminate the pirate’s ability to sell any of their pirate treasure:

"In all of the notable eras of piracy," University of South Carolina historian Donald Puchala writes, "relationships between pirates and those who abetted their projects amounted in effect to conspiracies of greed. The relationships were symbiotic: pirates could neither accomplish their ends nor convert their booty into profits without the aid of their protectors; for their part, the protectors could not so readily and splendidly enrich themselves without the booty brought in by the pirates."

– How to Stop Cybercrooks: Take Their Pals to Court, Wired>>
– The image is a portion of "Amputation in the Operating Room of St. Thomas Hospital, 1775", Google docs>>

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