Cops see little hope in controlling computer crime By Rob Lemos, ZDNN August 6, 1998 10:16 AM PT According to the General Accounting Office, there were 250,000 attempted break-ins at the Department of Defense in 1995. NASA estimates that crackers -- hacker criminals -- broke in to over 120,000 of its systems in 1996. Yet, few of those incidents are detected, much less reported. When DOD hackers broke into their own servers in 1996 and 1997, they attacked 38,000 machines. Only four percent of the incidents were detected. Out of that number, only 27 percent of detected break-ins were reported. [snip...] According to the DOJ's Charney, the number of cases involving encrypted data climbed from three percent in 1996 to seven percent in 1997. If that trend continues, he said, the only tactic left for law enforcement is to increase its surveillance capabilities. [snip...] Even so, there are other ways around encryption. In 1996, when an ISP reported that its system had been cracked, all FBI leads ran into brick walls. Luckily, the cracker, Carlos Salgado Jr. -- who had stolen over 100,000 credit card numbers worth more than an estimated $160 million -- found a potential buyer who suspected his credit card was one of the ones on the block to be sold. The "buyer" contacted the FBI and became a cooperative witness in the case.