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Man charged over P2P ID theft scam

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Police have arrested a Seattle man over allegations he used P2P networks to swipe sensitive financial data from the PCs of file sharing fans.

Gregory Kopiloff, 35, allegedly used the Limewire and Soulseek P2P networks as conduits for identity theft. Investigators reckon he used the software to scour users' systems on the hunt for income tax returns, student financial aid applications, credit reports and other documents that might give con men enough information about users to impersonate them.

According to court papers, Kopiloff used purloined information to establish bogus credit card accounts to fraudulently purchase thousands of dollars of merchandise, which he resold at half their true value. Investigators have identified 83 victims, the Seattle Post reports.

Kopiloff was arrested and charged last week with mail fraud, computer hacking and aggravated identity theft offences. If convicted, he faces a maximum 29 years imprisonment.

File sharing client software is frequently updated. During the update process, it would be an easy enough mistake to accidentally allow access to a whole PC, rather than just a few directories, according to Geoff Sweeney, CTO of security firm Tier-3. "The fact that he [the suspect] appears to be have been able to cherry-pick only those people earning more than $150,000 suggests he had a wealth of user files to choose from," Sweeney added. ®

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