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Robert Mueller, director of the FBI -- our nation's domestic intelligence agency -- admitted at a talk that he was a click away from sending his bank account information to phishers. He has been banned from online banking by his wife, he says.  (Source: James Martin/CNET )
FBI Chief reveals his own brush with online dangers

Cybersecurity is indeed everyone's problem.  With a majority of U.S. citizens woefully underprepared to recognize or deal with threats, phishers and other malicious users are reaping ill-gotten profits. 

If you feel bad for almost believing some of those phishing schemes don't be too hard on yourself.  After, all, you're no more careless than FBI Director Robert Mueller.

That's right -- the chief of the nation's domestic intelligence agency admitted at a Commonwealth Club of California talk that he almost let his own personal information fall into the clutches of phishers.  He had received an email, purportedly from his bank, that looked "perfectly legitimate".  It asked him to verify account information.

He began to fill out a response, then realized that it "might not be such a good idea".  He states, "[I was] just a few clicks away from falling into a classic Internet phishing scam... [I] barely caught [myself] in time... [I] definitely should have known better."

Worried he might have perhaps committed past careless indiscretions, he changed his passwords on all his accounts.  However, his boss -- his wife -- remained furious after hearing that he almost fell for such a scheme.  She issued an order to him -- "It is our money. No more internet banking for you!"

Ironically the news comes just as the FBI announced at a special press conference in Los Angeles that it had nabbed 33 phishers in California, Nevada, and North Carolina, and 100, in total, around the globe.  Many of the phishers were from Eastern Europe, particularly Romania.  Targeting bank information, the phishers were busted by "Operation Phish Phry", the largest anti-phishing FBI sting to date.  Describes Director Mueller, "It's the largest international phishing case ever conducted."

Director Mueller delivered some other interesting analysis at the talk.  He said that terrorists are using Google Earth as a tool to help them plan attacks.  He also took an audience question about whether people should fear the FBI reading their emails more than a teen hacker.  He insisted that the FBI does not read emails without a court order of some kind, stating, "I would worry about that teenage hacker more than you should worry about us.  I'm comfortable with the stances we've taken."

He says that if you commit cybercrimes the FBI will be coming for you.  He warns, "You hack, you get caught.  You are going to jail... You are not going to get a good job afterward. You are going to be identified as a person who has broken the law."

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By Fritzr on 10/10/2009 3:53:34 AM , Rating: 2
Remember those national security letters? The FBI required court permission to issue them, the recipient could not legally verify the legality of the order. FBI agents loved that situation...issue a letter for information they were interested in (often no relation to terrorism) and "forget" to get the court order. The FBI apologized and promised never to do it again. There is still no way to verify that a national security letter is legit and congress can only review the ones that they are allowed to know about. Of course none of that matters as the FBI will always comply with the law and will never issue a false statement to the press :P

I agree we should trust the FBI. However we should monitor and control the people who are employed by and/or manage the FBI. The job title does not keep a dishonest person from abusing powers granted in the belief that only honest & loyal patriots will want the police powers granted to an FBI agent.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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