Purveyors of online fraud and abuse—and the methods they use—are often extremely difficult to detect. Computer forensics are thus needed to trace and catch Internet fraudsters. Attorneys general in Washington and New York invested in computer forensics and, as a result, were able to prosecute successful cases against spyware. Most states, however, have little in the way of computer forensic capability.
Developing this capability may not require substantial new funds. Rather, most important are human and intellectual resources. Even New York’s more intensive adware investigations, for instance, were done with free or low-cost software, which, among other things, captured screenshots, wiped hard drives, and tracked IP addresses and installation information through “packet sniffing” tools. Attorneys general must make investments in human capital so that such software can be harnessed and put to use.
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