ON YOUR SIDE ALERT: The science of tracking scams - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

ON YOUR SIDE ALERT: The science of tracking scams

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A simple math problem may be the answer to stopping cyber crooks. Swiss scientists have developed a system of numbers they say can be used to locate spammers and the source of viruses.

You may remember math equations like algorithms in school, but some scientist say they can be used to track down cyber criminals.

"It is surprising because it seems like the principle is so simple, that it is one of those well, how come nobody ever thought about it before," says Cyber Expert, D. J. Rivera, who is interested in the concept.

Cyber experts say the difficult part in catching cyber criminals is finding the source. Rivera says the Algorithm concept is nothing more than a math problem meant to lead to a solution. In fact, it's in use right now. "It is certainly an Algorithm that at least works for one purpose because it is used to trace cell phone calls," he says.

Rivera says when arrest are made nowadays, it's usually not the so called "expert" cyber criminals.

"There is really never been a way to trace it back to the source. You can use IP Addresses and things of that nature but the good attackers are not going to use any real data anyway and those can be forged," Rivera explains.

Our cyber expert says this mathematical concept is potential good news for the consumer but there is one thing to keep in mind, if the good guys know about it, you can bet the cyber criminals already know, or will soon.

"In terms of getting them or catching them, it may not have that much of an impact because they were using all false, or what they call spoofed information in the first place," Rivera says.

He says with the algorithm, cyber experts would use a computer network to trace incoming spam and viruses and in turn, track down the person responsible, at least in theory. It sounds simple, but Rivera says more research needs to be done and the system needs to be tested on a large level to see if the results would be consistent.

"It is a good start. It is in the early development right now. All he has is an Algorithm. It's only step by step how to do something, not a real implementation that can be used commercially or academically," Rivera explains.

Rivera says banks, governments and security companies would be highly interested, if this were proven successful. Swiss Scientist say they have gotten some interest from security companies.

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