Feeds

Fugitive CEO tracked down to Sri Lanka after Skype call

Ceylon so long

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A hi-tech chief executive turned fugitive has been tracked down in Sri Lanka by a private investigator after 10 days on the lam.

Jacob "Kobi" Alexander, 54, faces fraud charges over a stock options scandal involving the voicemail software firm he founded, Comverse.

According to Israeli reports, Alexander was tracked down after a one-minute call made using the Skype IP Telephony service betrayed his presence in Sri Lanka to intelligence agencies. Following the call, made in the nation's capital Columbo, a gum-shoe tracked him down to a villa in the town of Negombo.

As previously reported, Alexander (who holds dual American-Israeli citizenship) became the target of a worldwide manhunt after he failed to answer securities fraud charges. Two of his former colleagues - former Comverse CFO David Kreinberg and former general counsel William F Sorin - were released on bail after being charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud offences earlier this month.

All three resigned from Comverse in May over allegations of multi-million dollar stock options fraud in the midst of an internal probe. Federal investigators accuse them of profiting at the expense of Comverse stockholders by backdating options as well as making misleading public financial statements between 1998 and 2002.

Initially it was thought Alexander may have fled to Israel, a country where he allegedly recently transferred $57m. But hi-tech detective work led to his arrest in Sri Lanka, from where US authorities will presumably seeks Alexander's extradition.

Skype offers confidentiality but not anonymity, as Alexander might testify. Quiet how he was tracked down remains unclear.

Ars technica points to an interesting paper on tracking anonymous peer-to-peer VoIP traffic (here).

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) gives federal investigators the authority to request warrants to tap landline and cell phone calls, a power investigators wish to extend to cover VoIP calls, over the objections of security experts.

But perhaps Alexander was traced not by call tapping but by monitoring the phone numbers of a call he made to an associate. It's known that a user's IP is logged and tracked when they log into a Skype server. So federal investigators may have traced Alexander after his identity was verified for billing purposes in a call to a landline or mobile that was the subject of a monitoring order.

In that possible scenario, which must remain speculative, Skype would have been served with an order to turn over its logs, an action that raises wider privacy issues before we even consider how Alexander's probable location came to be turned over to a private investigator. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.