FBI battles cyber criminals around the world

Posted at 7:03 PM, Mar 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-04 19:03:46-05

Chesapeake, Va. - Robbing a bank in person is a thing of the past.

Today's criminals can cause catastrophic damage with a few clicks of a mouse or a few lines of code, all from half a world away.

"We have global criminals that can sit in an office building in Eastern Europe and steal money from a bank account in the United States," says FBI Cyber Crimes Supervisor Robert Cochran.

The FBI has had to evolve along with criminals.

In Chesapeake sits one of the Bureau's dozens of cyber crime units tracking suspects across the world.

"This was the way that we would track criminals. We went into crime scenes and we collected evidence, and now we're responsible for going after digital fingerprints. Every file leaves a digital signature, which is another kind of fingerprint, and my agents are trained to track down those fingerprints," says Cochran.

The FBI says many cyber criminals think they're safe stealing from the other side of the world.

The Bureau says those criminals may run, but they can't hide.

"Some of the criminals think they're safe in other countries, but you would be surprised to know that we have very good relationships with the law enforcement with many countries that you would not think that we do,” says Cochran.

But how can you take action and prevent becoming a cyber victim?

"The FBI says one of the biggest ways you can avoid being a victim of cyber crime is to avoid what you put on social media. Simply mentioning your kids’ names or even posting where you went for a run can all be used against you," says Cochran.

"All of that is valuable to the criminal element, and it's useful to them so it’s very important that we ID where those things are being stolen from and where they're being sold,” says Cochran

The FBI admits their cyber division is always two steps behind the criminals but says they have time on their side.

"We rely on criminals to make mistakes and they always do. We're also very patient. We may not get you today or tomorrow, but eventually you will make a mistake and we'll be there waiting,” says Cochran.