There is no doubt that the rise of the Internet has added a new dimension to our lives and made drastic changes to some activities. Going to a movie tonight? Check the listings on the web, it's quicker than finding it in the newspaper. Who was the actress who played Mindy on that TV show? Hit the Internet Movie Database web site (http://www.imdb.com) and see the career history of Pam Dawber. Notice that line of filled grocery carts waiting by the door at the supermarket? Those are for folks who did their grocery shopping on the web and just have time to run by and pick them up. Uncle Albert's birthday is TODAY? Send him a cute card through email and he'll never know you forgot. Need the fourth book of the Earthsea Trilogy? Check a dozen online booksellers without driving anywhere. Did your kid mess up in school today? Look for the teacher's email.
Just as the World Wide Web and email have altered our personal lives and most avenues of commerce, another business activity has been transformed – crime. The Internet has opened up new mechanisms for the perpetrators of crime. I'm sure you remember scenes from movies of fifteen years ago where the brilliant criminal lugs his computer to a phone booth, dials up the bank, and transfers $100 million dollars to his secret Swiss account – it's not likely that such exploits could happen today. Banks now have elaborate safeguards in place to render this type of direct assault all but impossible. Criminals have turned to exploiting the one item that has always been the weakest link in any security endeavor. People.
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