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Man Committing Identity Theft with P2P Software Faces Arrest

A man from Seattle accused of using file-sharing networks to steal sensitive financial and personal data from the computers of other file-sharing users was arrested. According to an indictment in federal court, Gregory Kopiloff used the Limewire program, popularly used to exchange videos, music and other digital material, to collect people's private information.

Kopiloff then used the stolen information to open fake bank and credit accounts in the names of his victims, as per the indictment. Subsequently, he used the accounts to purchase merchandise worth thousands of dollars from conventional retailers and online merchants.

Kopiloff's arrest is the first such case in the country relating to abuse of peer-to-peer (P2P) software to commit identity theft. Kopiloff purchased goods worth over $73,000 through online shopping. These items included laptop computers and iPods, which he resold for half their prices, according to the indictment. Investigators found that he spent the greater part of the sale proceeds in gambling.

Authorities have identified 83 victims although there could be more. Most of them were not aware their computers had file-sharing software. Investigators said with certainty that there were hundreds of affected people who had lost lakhs of dollars in totality.

Kopiloff's arrest took place on September 5, 2007 with charges of compromising a protected computer, mail fraud, and two more counts of serious identity theft.

While participating in a news conference at the Office of US Attorney on September 6, 2007, Robert Boback, an expert on P2P risk management, characterized Koppiloff's act as a herald to modern crime. The danger of P2P file sharing is that users don't get to know all that is being shared in their hard drive. Seattlepi.com reported this on September 6, 2007.

Boback said there were about 966 Million P2P searches done every single day all over the world. During the two weeks starting August 16 2007, Boback's company research found 800,000 dubious P2P search terms relating to bank accounts, credit cards, credit reports, medical insurance, tax returns and passwords.

In the current trend of identity theft, there are innumerable people living out of money made from work of this kind.

Related article: Man Sues and Wins against ISP for Spamming Mail

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