Jonny tapped his pencil on his knee as he said this. He had a good point. I was in complete agreement. The benifits to tenaciously pursuing an intruder are even more questionable when one considers the possibility that the intruder may not be an American. Dealing with the miriad of foriegn laws, and lack of laws, can be more trouble than it is worth. When researchers at AT&T traced a hacker on their system back to a Dutch computer, they discovered that hacking was not a crime in the Netherlands. There was little AT&T and numerous other victems in the USA could do. It was not until after Dutch companies began to fall prey to hacking that the Netherlands officially recognized computer crimes. Buferd, as the AT&T hacker had been dubbed, was eventually arrested by police in the Netherlands.
Given this environment, it is far more prudent to concentrate on prevention rather than detection. Detection does little good if nobody is motivated to investigate. And, because nobody is motivated to investigate, it is foolish for a cautious company to rely upon the security practices of other organizations. Instead, a cautious company should take measures that can be taken unilaterally. Fortunately, there are substantial measures a single site can take on its own. A good firewall is a start… but only a start. For any sensitive data that leaves the site, cryptography can be used to protect the data from prying eyes and also to protect the data from tampering or mis-use. In this way, the cautious company can prevent trouble before it ever occurs. Both the high cost of investigations and the small reward for successful investigations become a moot point.
Jonny straightened abruptly as a heavy-set woman with wavy dark hair walked into the room. She had olive skin and a wide mouth. Her lipstick was dark red, her eyes brown and penetrating. She appeared to be in her forties.
“Is this him?” she asked Jonny curtly. He nodded.
“Hello Mr. Raymond,” said the woman as she turned to face me. “My name is Agnes Brown. I am Agent Carter’s immediate superior. In a few moments we will be joined by the chair of the American Bankers Association. We have a few questions to ask you. Our conversation will be recorded. I expect your full cooperation.” She turned and walked behind Jonny’s desk. She sat down in the seat that Jonny vacated when she entered the room.
I nodded my head once in reply and remained silent. This woman was all business. Had I not spoken to Jonny first, Agnes Brown would have reinforced my image of the FBI: cold, inpersonal, aloof, arrogant, and still enthralled with 1960’s technology. My conversation with Jonny had gone a long way in dispelling that image. He was not at all what I would have expected from an FBI agent. Far from being a technically inept policeman with pretensions of being an expert on computer crime, he was both knowledgable and well aware of the limits of his knowledge. For the first time I appreciated the difficulty that he and his bretheren have when trying to enforce conventional laws in a new and rapidly changing environment. I understood and sympathized with his frustration over the task of investigating crimes that nobody, not even the victems, are motivated to solve. Very few people fully grasp the seriousness of these crimes and fewer still have the energy to investigate them.
I had already decided that I would do all I could to help Jonny at the point when Agnes Brown strode into the room. After talking to Jonny, my motivation grew beyond self-preservation. No longer was I only concerned with staying out of jail and staying close to Lisa’s pretty face. Now, for the first time I had more honorable motives. Somebody was stealing large amounts of money from a US bank and there was a good chance he would get away with it. The FBI was ill-equipped to handle the case, not because of any short-comings on their part, but because of a general lack of concern in society and because of a lack of earnest effort by the banks. I was now determined to do all I could to help Jonny solve this case.
A young blonde receptionist tapped gently on the open door. She had a pencil tucked in her hair behind her ear. Her winged bangs hung down to almost cover the glasses she was wearing. She looked at Agnes and said, “Mr. Templemeyer with the ABA is here.”
“Fine Ms. Reynolds. Show him in,” came the curt reply. Then, when a tall slender man with grey temples and short blond hair on his crown stepped in the room, Mrs. Brown stood up and walked around to the front of Jonny’s desk.
“Hello Mr. Templemeyer. Nice to see you again,” she said while extending her hand and shaking his. He wore a light grey suit. His tie was navy blue but appeared almost black in contrast to his white shirt. He appeared to be in his early sixties. There were crows-feet on the outsides of his eyes, which lent an amused twinkle to his features. He manner was amiable and unassuming.
After the introductions and brief pleasantries were over, Agnes explained that Mr. Templemeyer had requested the meeting so that he might learn first-hand all that I had uncovered. He wanted a full explanation of the money mill. I told him the story from the top, beginning with my initial observations on the 11th. I explained how, because First Chicago Trust sent error messages for all of the EFT’s from Bendix of St. Louis on that day, that Bendix resent the EFT’s the next day, on the 12th. This meant that First Chicago Trust got three copies of all of the EFT’s: the legitimate copies which First Chicago rejected as part of their delaying tactics; my copies which followed close on the heels of the rejected copies; and the copies sent by Bendix the next day in response to the error messages from First Chicago.