You’ve just opened a Web page or clicked a link in an email when your computer’s desktop goes gray. A browser window pops up with the FBI logo in the top left corner. Below it is a live webcam feed with a picture of someone’s face. You try to click away but find that your browser is locked. With a start, you recognize the face staring at you from the screen: It’s you.
This isn’t the plot of a Japanese horror film. It’s a frightening form of malware called “ransomware” that has been seen with increasing frequency in recent months. No one knows exactly how many people have been hit with it, but security firm McAfee reports that it recorded more than 120,000 new samples in the second quarter of 2012, a fourfold increase from the same quarter last year.
There are many variants of ransomware, all of which begin by locking you out of your own machine. The next phase: trying to blackmail, intimidate or otherwise spook you into forking over cash. You probably shouldn’t do it. But it’s easy to see why a lot of people do.
The FBI’s case file on D.B. Cooper runs some forty feet long. It is located in the basement archives of the Bureau’s field office in Seattle, where for four decades agents have hunted for the man who ransomed a passenger jet for a small fortune and parachutes, then jumped out the back over the rural Northwest, during the middle of a storm, never to be seen again.
This Thanksgiving, November 24th, 2011, marks the 40th anniversary of the legendary Cooper case, an unsolved crime that has baffled agents, detectives and amateur sleuths, and spurned [sic] one of the greatest manhunts in law enforcement history.
Geoffrey Gray, author of The New York Times bestseller SKYJACK: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper, was the first reporter to gain access to the FBI’s Cooper files. In addition to hundreds of documents, he was able to get his hands on the Bureau’s photos, some seen here for the first time.
Strange Random Crime Quote:
- New evidence emerges in D.B. Cooper case (overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com)
- D.B. Cooper Mystery Deepens After DNA Test (huffingtonpost.com)
- D.B. Cooper Night – This Sunday! (lostoregon.org)
- 40 years later, D.B. Cooper still a mystery (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- 40 years later, skyjacker’s identity a mystery (sfgate.com)
- Today in Aviation History – November 24 (crufc.ca)