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Crime Privacy Communications Security

Collar-Bomber Tracked By Gmail Accesses 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the crimes-that-would-have-worked-better-in-the-80s dept.
RockDoctor writes "Reports indicate that a suspect has been arrested in the Australian 'collar bomb' hostage/extortion case. The allegation is that the suspect had set up a Gmail account, through which he (allegedly) planned to communicate with the extortion victims and arrange delivery of the payment. Unfortunately for him, records were kept showing the location and time the account was set up, and also for a number of accesses. This information, combined with 'CCTV footage and motor vehicle records,' allowed the police to put an identity to the suspect, and arrange for his arrest. So, if you're planning an extortion scheme, don't drive your car to the internet cafe, don't set up the account from an airport, wear anonymous clothes (like Jason Bourne does?) and do all your accesses through hacked shell accounts somewhere in Outer Mongolia. But, this being Slashdot, everyone knew that already."
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Collar-Bomber Tracked By Gmail Accesses

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  • by Jon Stone (1961380) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @09:37AM (#37118420)

    The "poor guy" is believed to have been part of the gang that came up with the plan in the first place. He wasn't, however, expecting it to be a real bomb.

    Brian Douglas Wells [wikipedia.org]

  • And don't use GMail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:20AM (#37118836) Homepage

    So, if you're planning an extortion scheme, don't drive your car to the internet cafe, don't set up the account from an airport, wear anonymous clothes (like Jason Bourne does?) and do all your accesses through hacked shell accounts somewhere in Outer Mongolia.

    And don't use Google, who fed the IP information to the police.* That seems to be the key here; without an ability to link the GMail account to an IP address in the first place, they never would have found a physical location at which to look for a specific person or a car.

    * GMail headers, last I checked, do not contain this information. Some webmail providers add an X-Originating-IP header, e.g. Hotmail, but Google doesn't.

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