After 26 years of chasing mob bosses, drug lords and street gangs for the FBI, Richard J (Jack) Hunt, director of the Federal Law Enforcement Division at GTE Internetworking, is working on The Bastille, an international Web-based data sharing system being offered to law enforcement agencies. Hunt, 54, spoke with IDG's Sharon Gaudin on how the cops chase the robbers who are up on technology.
IDG: How are criminals using computers?
Hunt: A few years ago, it was rare to find dope dealers using computers. Now it's pretty common. They use them to keep up with a vast amount of money or property they've acquired, or money owed to them, or [to track] who has what coming to them. And a lot of the [material is] encrypted, which is a big problem for us.
How did law enforcement respond?
We had to develop the ability to get information out of their systems. It's become a law enforcement art. It's very difficult to compete with these guys without the best computer people. How do you catch the bad guys who can afford better talent than the Government can sometimes?
Do you have an example?
We did a raid in Phoenix. It was a money laundering deal, and we found in the computer a "to whom it may concern" letter that [the suspect] had tried to bury. It said that he was dealing with bad guys and this is who they are and what they've done. He had been keeping it for protection.
How is the profile of electronic crime changing?
There's still an awful lot of kids and computer types out there trying to prove a point. But industrial espionage is a growing arena. As the globalisation of the economy and of monetary systems increases, [so does] the potential for attacks from foreign countries and businesses.