New Orleans bureau

HARAHAN -- An FBI agent who leads a computer crimes squad in New Orleans
said Thursday that, with the global Internet population currently at 245
million users and expected to hit 375 million by years end, the amount of
"e-crime" will rise as well. 

"The problem with the Internet is only going to get worse," Special Agent
Will Hatcher, who heads the FBIs National Infrastructure
Protection/Computer Intrusion Squad, told law-enforcement officials from
metro New Orleans. 

Hatcher, who said more than a third (135.7 million) of the World Wide Webs
users are found in the United States, recounted a number of e-crime cases
investigated by the FBI, including that of Carlos "Smak"  Salgado Jr. of
San Francisco. 

Before Salgado was arrested in May 1997, Hatcher said, he used the
Internet to steal 80,000 credit-card numbers with roughly $1.36 billion
worth of available credit. The projected fraud to four major credit-card
companies was more than $150 million, he said. 

[More inflated damage figures. One person with 80,000 cards can NOT cause
150 million in fraud. Even distributing these numbers for free to
criminals everywhere, it is highly unlikely that they could ring up that
much damage before the cards were noticed and cancelled.]


Sabludowsky said neither the state nor the federal government has the
resources to combat what he termed "cybercrime." Hatcher used the term

[The ever present call for money. The driving force behind article like
this. The FBI seems to be no different than large security companies. Both
want your money.]


Sabludowsky said a recent report released to the California Senate found
that more than $6.5 billion is lost annually in California to high-tech

[A damage figure that is very likely not explained well here. California
has a high rate of non technical crime where people steal computer
components. Because RAM and Hard Drives are involved, these crimes are
often called 'high tech' when it involves old fashioned burglary or