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Mafia Boss Betrayed By Facebook

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the hate-when-that-happens dept.

Wireless Networking 214

An anonymous reader writes "One of Italy's 100 most-wanted criminals, a vicious mafia boss who had been on the run for months, was betrayed by his passion for social networking and flushed out thanks to Facebook. Using the name 'Scarface' from the gangster movie starring Al Pacino, Pasquale Manfredi, 33, a boss of the the ferocious 'Ndrangheta mafia organization from the Calabria region in southern Italy, had logged on to his Facebook account so often that police were able to trace the signal from his Internet key and find his hideout.' Seems the Mafia Wars Facebook phenomenon goes deeper than it seemed!"

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214 comments

Eh (5, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 4 years ago | (#31568548)

I dunno I can't seem to bring myself to take a mafia boss who uses facebook seriously. I can only imagine how seriously people will take him when he's in jail. Getting caught by using facebook can't be good for your criminal reputation.

apps that use spyware are common (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568770)

you have been warned
chronoss
united hackers association

Re:Eh (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#31568994)

I'm guessing that "'Ndrangheta boss" counts for more than "uses facebook" when it comes to calculating an individual's ranking in the criminal respect index.

Re:Eh (4, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 years ago | (#31569190)

>>I'm guessing that "'Ndrangheta boss" counts for more than "uses facebook" when it comes to calculating an individual's ranking in the criminal respect index.

Yeah, but tweeting your crimes is definitely worth -50 points.

Re:Eh (5, Funny)

justthisdude (779510) | about 4 years ago | (#31569646)

Facebook should cater more to their "made" clientele: Along with relationship status, there should be a "legal status" pulldown menu:

- Totally legit
- On the lamb
- Locked up
- It's complicated

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569938)

You'd think an organisation as big as the Mafia had some decent IT. I wonder if they are hiring ... they certainly need more IT techs :D

Trace the signal from his internet key? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568552)

WTH is that supposed to mean?

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#31568634)

It's likely simplified language for something too complicated for the general public to understand.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (2, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | about 4 years ago | (#31568768)

They linked "Trace the signal" to an article about companies using GPS trackers in employees' cell phones. I think it's simplified so that ABC can understand it, and they still don't ;)

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 4 years ago | (#31569800)

It basically means that law enforcement whipped up a GUI in Visual Basic in order to trace his IP address.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (5, Informative)

gavinchappell (784065) | about 4 years ago | (#31568682)

I'm assuming he was on a 3G dongle, Facebook provided IP addresses, police contacted ISP, found out his SIM card number/modem IMEI number, and traced his location based on which phone towers he was connected to, and signal strengths.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1)

Sinning (1433953) | about 4 years ago | (#31568778)

I assumed that internet key was a badly translated Italian phrase for IP address. But your explanation probably makes more sense.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (4, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 4 years ago | (#31568942)

I assumed that internet key was a badly translated Italian phrase for IP address. But your explanation probably makes more sense.

Whereas we call it a USB Modem, in Italy they call it "Internet Key".

Basically, they got his IP address from Facebook, took it to the Mobile Broadband supplier who gave up his billing address.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (3, Informative)

dnaumov (453672) | about 4 years ago | (#31569146)

I assumed that internet key was a badly translated Italian phrase for IP address. But your explanation probably makes more sense.

Whereas we call it a USB Modem, in Italy they call it "Internet Key".

Basically, they got his IP address from Facebook, took it to the Mobile Broadband supplier who gave up his billing address.

Or actual triangulated physical location. If you are a mobile provider, these things are quite possible, although whether the law enforcement agencies get access to this kind of data depends on the laws of your country.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569912)

Or actual triangulated physical location. If you are a mobile provider, these things are quite possible, although whether the law enforcement agencies get access to this kind of data depends on the laws of your country.

At the end they triangulated his signal, is my wild guess. "Internet Keys" don't necessarily have a (real) billing address: they are "recharged" on consumption, based on easily obtainable recharge codes (=buy cash at a corner shop). The Italians never let themselves be fooled by phone subscriptions like in (ehum..) all the rest of the world?

Further everyone in Italy is well aware that all his mobile phone calls record, his live phone triangulation any time needed and even the content of his calls and every SMS he ever sent are basically so protected as being public domain.

Tapped lines are countless in that land, so much that you better sent your greets tot the third listener every time you call your fiance`, as a matter of good manners. SMS records even often appear on tabloids on judiciary and gossip cases.

Call records (and probably SMS, too) are even stored for years, as the European law requires so. Although triangulation is not saved, for what is known.

That means that knowing an IP address through Facebook at a given time could be hardly tracked to a physical position later, but the mobile operator could say whose "internet key" number (the GSM SIM card) was using that IP at that time.

Afterwords tracking that SIM card next time it was used was trivial. Well done to the cops, I'd say.

It all seems to depend on the 'who do we know' mentality by the mobile provider or by the authorities, either way.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 years ago | (#31569934)

Or actual triangulated physical location. If you are a mobile provider, these things are quite possible, although whether the law enforcement agencies get access to this kind of data depends on the laws of your country.

Or... just used GPS.

Remember, most 3G chipsets do use USB, and the chipsets are identical to the ones used in smartphones (there are only a few big chipset manufacturers out there). Most of them connect via USB - whether it's to your PC, or to the smartphone's main processor. Many of these "USB Sticks" or "Internet Sticks" or whatever are just the phone part of a smartphone ripped out, so they support GPS and all sorts of other phone features...

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#31569990)

Of course it's possible. The Google Maps app for my phone could pinpoint me in my house, and they don't have access to all the data from the mobile provider's antennas.

And no, the phone doesn't have GPS.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569176)

In italian "chiavetta " (key) is the layman translation of "dongle", I guess the guy used a USB 3G modem and they got him identifying to which cell tower he was connecting.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 4 years ago | (#31569354)

The sort of detail that should have been in the article in the first place.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569910)

It didn't need to be in an ABC News article any more than the creators of Independence Day needed to explain to the masses how humans could create a computer virus that could infect alien computers. The latter was still very successful and the former will be read by the masses who really don't care about the details, nor should they.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568838)

Technically speaking, it works like this. There is a guy in a brightly lit room with about 30-40 computer screens of various sizes. He sees the bad guy log in to facebook and runs a trace on the internet key by typing furiously. A few of the screens show maps of the world with lines tracing the signal as it gets closer to the mafia boss's hideout. If he doesn't log out before the connect the dots reach him, he gets busted. Make sense now?

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (5, Funny)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#31569254)

And of course he is running a custom OS where you can type in complete phrases that it will understand like "find the bad man's internet key" and 1.5 seconds later it has a GPS location, pictures of the bad man, all his recent activity, etc. all on the screen. It could also find any DNA or fingerprint info from it's imaginary worldwide database that contains this info everybody in the world and can also return the results in a matter of seconds.

Seriously though, if law enforcement had any of the programs and databases they seem to have on every cop show on television, I am pretty sure the unsolved crime rate would be below 2%.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1)

rgviza (1303161) | about 4 years ago | (#31569908)

You'd need to contact facebook to get their IP address.

actually most ISP's enter long/lat info into their routers. you can easily trace a connection to the nearest NOC of the ISP using a geotracing program find their neighborhood in a few seconds with nothing more than an IP address.

Here's an open source geotracing program: http://www.linuxsoft.cz/en/sw_detail.php?id_item=169 [linuxsoft.cz]

You can then call the NOC and find out who the IP's been assigned to, and get their billing address, if you have a badge, maybe even if you don't.

This technology is not Sci Fi, it's real. I was playing with neotrace in 1997 to trace IRC users and freak them out. This capability has been around a long time and it's next to free to get a client to do this.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#31570244)

Right, and if you are using a 3G dongle, an IP address won't tell you much other that a billing address and name, both of which can be easily faked. In order to track down a 3G dongle, you need to triangulate the signal using more equipment that a laptop with neotrace. Which takes a lot longer than a few seconds. Then factor in the idiot cops trying to get your Linux program to run on their XP boxes and you are talking about hours before they finally give up and start trying to beat the information out of informants. Also I have played with tracing programs before and they can usually get you to a city level, which would probably be enough to freak out people on IRC, but would not be good enough to take down someone in a densely populated urban area. And I wasn't specifically referring to only the GPS tracing aspect. It's mostly all the other stuff I mentioned - typing plain phrases into a command prompt and having the computer know exactly all the info you want and displaying it within seconds. That is pure SciFi.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (2, Funny)

heckler95 (1140369) | about 4 years ago | (#31569894)

Then they just "log in" to get grainy security camera footage from a convenience store that shows him 50 feet from the camera at the back of the store. A few zooms and "enhance!" operations and you can clearly see each of the hairs in the suspect's beard. Case closed.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569288)

You'd think he would have learned something from Tony Soprano that told his guys to "LOG OFF!" before even talking business around him with a computer nearby, or getting rid of his GPS from his new car the first day he got it.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (5, Informative)

Exitar (809068) | about 4 years ago | (#31569326)

A wireless USB stick, known in Italy as "chiavetta internet"/internet key.

Re:Trace the signal from his internet key? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569402)

As an italian, I can tell you that "internet key" is the way the average Joe in Italy calls a 3G usb dongle.

Is this good or bad? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 4 years ago | (#31568554)

It's good when the bad guys get caught, but bad when the good guys get caught...

I'm a bit uncertain about this. I guess phones could be traced too...

Re:Is this good or bad? (0)

flajann (658201) | about 4 years ago | (#31568656)

All things electronic can be traced, including (and especially) cell phones! They triangulate your location from the receiving towers.

Re:Is this good or bad? (1, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#31569112)

All things electronic can be trace

Wow, I didn't know that! Could you try tracing my microwave oven, please? Just to give you a bit of a head start, it's 800W, and I'll probably be using it tonight around 7pm, somewhere in the UK.

Re:Is this good or bad? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569196)

207.148.2.2

Re:Is this good or bad? (0)

flajann (658201) | about 4 years ago | (#31569242)

All things electronic can be trace

Wow, I didn't know that! Could you try tracing my microwave oven, please? Just to give you a bit of a head start, it's 800W, and I'll probably be using it tonight around 7pm, somewhere in the UK.

Ok, Sm@r1 @$$, how about any electronic communications device? Is that better?

And actually, if I knew the exact signature of your microwave oven, that would be traceable too, from a certain distance, at least. If you're in a big city, you have safety in numbers, of course. If you were living out in the wilderness using a microwave, I could just zero in on any microwave source in the frequency range of typical microwave ovens, and that would be you.

Re:Is this good or bad? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#31569506)

That's better, yes :)

And technically true, but unlikely.. the shielding in microwave ovens is very good, so you'd need some incredible scanning technology, or to be very close.

Re:Is this good or bad? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#31569376)

The iPhone uses three different methods for location data. GPS is only one of them. Even if I'm in a building and can't get a GPS signal, the iPhone can show me my current location within 5 seconds or so.

I often hear that triangulation of your location off towers is bullshit, except I have a working proof of concept sitting in my hand.

Do authorities have access to that immediately without a warrant? I would hope not.

Re:Is this good or bad? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#31569882)

If you can get a signal form 3 different towers, you can triangulate the position. It is trivial to analyze the strength of the signals to determine the distance from each tower. And with 3 points you can tell almost exactly where the signal is coming from relative to the towers. No, the authorities technically should need a warrant to get cell tower info, but if they just mention the magic "t" word (terr'ist) then all bets may be off.

Re:Is this good or bad? (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 4 years ago | (#31570054)

Don't know who told you it's bullshit, because it isn't. There are real world implementations of this.

Hell, I built one (small scale example) using FM transmitters. If you know the transmitting power of three points, and you can find out the signal strength from the receiver, then you can triangulate the position rather accurately.

For my project, it was in a field, so the accuracy was really good (to the metre). If you get walls/building/etc... in the way, it's not so good, but generally will be good enough to work out in what area/section you are. From which point I presume other police methods are applicable for narrowing down further.

Re:Is this good or bad? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31568876)

It's bad, because only the stupid criminals are being caught, giving an evolutionary advantage to intelligent and tech-savvy criminals.

Re:Is this good or bad? (1)

qoncept (599709) | about 4 years ago | (#31569672)

Uh.. You set the conditions, and you already knew the outcome. Let's review:

1. Mafia boss gets caught.
2. It's good when the bad guys get caught, but bad when the good guys get caught...

What was the question again?

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568580)

Now if we can just get Osama Bin Laden a Facebook account...

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569386)

Ahh, the greatest hide-and-seek player ever.

internet key?? (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 4 years ago | (#31568586)

Where do I get one of these keys to the internet they speak of?

Re:internet key?? (1)

flajann (658201) | about 4 years ago | (#31568784)

I think they probably meant his IP address. You know reporters. They never get the technology nor the science right.

Re:internet key?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568948)

now just imagine how badly they fuck up when they aren't talking about one of your areas of expertise!

Re:internet key?? (1)

BHS_Turf (8387) | about 4 years ago | (#31568892)

USB devices are commonly referred to as "keys", so you too can own a key to the internet I think Sprint even has a 4G key.

Re:internet key?? (2, Informative)

ls671 (1122017) | about 4 years ago | (#31568898)

Just Google for it ;-)

"Internet key"

I found this one really quickly:

http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/review/broadband/3-mobile/broadband_internet_key/222237 [idg.com.au]

Re:internet key?? (4, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#31569404)

What is this Google that you speak of?

Do I need an internet key to access it?

Re:internet key?? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 4 years ago | (#31569818)

> Do I need an internet key to access it?

Not necessarily, an IP address would suffice ;-))

Canadian made IP addresses seem to be better for some users:

http://www.darrenbarefoot.com/archives/2007/09/how-can-i-canadianize-my-ip-address.html [darrenbarefoot.com]

You may want to estimate your needs with the "Advanced IP Address Calculator" prior to buying your IP address at a store near you:

http://advanced-ip-address-calculator.softonic.fr/ [softonic.fr]

Re:internet key?? (1)

Nieriko (200589) | about 4 years ago | (#31568982)

Where do I get one of these keys to the internet they speak of?

I'm pretty sure The Elders of the Internet gave one to him.

his Internet key?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568594)

wtf is an Internet key and how do I get one? Alt+F4?!

Re:his Internet key?! (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 4 years ago | (#31570156)

wtf is an Internet key and how do I get one? Alt+F4?!

Why would you want one? Look what happened to this guy! ;-)

Too bad... (1)

flajann (658201) | about 4 years ago | (#31568610)

Yet another idiot who does not understand how the Internet works.

Rule No. 1: NEVER log on from your hideout directly if you are on the run! At least use proxies, but I wouldn't even trust them under those circumstances.

"Internet Key" (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568626)

"Internet Key"? That's the most reputable article you could find on the topic? Really?

The Original Scarface (0, Redundant)

NekSnappa (803141) | about 4 years ago | (#31568632)

Al Capone was "Scarface" long before Al Pacino.

Re:The Original Scarface (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569116)

Al Capone may have been the boss, but Mas Capone was always the big cheese.

ZYNGA STRIKES AGAIN (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568654)

I bet one of the other mob bosses had more friends in his MafiaWars Mob.

Notification! (1)

ultraexactzz (546422) | about 4 years ago | (#31568702)

Pasquale Manfredi has sent you a Computer Set-up. Could you send him a gift back? Together you can be the top players.

The Crime Boss's Manual to the Internet. (1)

flajann (658201) | about 4 years ago | (#31568712)

I think I should write this book, just for the sheer fun of it! Then I recall what happened to Steve Jackson Games, and all they did was an RPG. Nevermind...

Re:The Crime Boss's Manual to the Internet. (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#31569718)

Well, Steve Jackson Games did win on their day in court and got something like $300,000 (most to cover legal fees IIRC) and the Secret Service got a slap on the wrist for basically raiding them when it wasn't necessary. Wasn't the whole thing about some supposed "stolen" documents from Bell that Bell had actually made available to the public?

First Rule of Not Being Seen (4, Insightful)

LaminatorX (410794) | about 4 years ago | (#31568924)

<Python>"As you see, Sergeant Smiley has not learned the first rule of Not Being Seen: Never stand up."</Python>

OMG! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31568980)

OMG this is SO cool i nid to share dis IMMEDIATELYxoxoxo i wonder if i can find that bastard who stold my girlfriend with facebook

Internet key? (0, Redundant)

nilbog (732352) | about 4 years ago | (#31569016)

What is an internet key? I don't need keys to access the internet...

Re:Internet key? (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 4 years ago | (#31569148)

Apparently that's how the term Italians use to describe USB 3G wireless modems translates into English. (See earlier comments...)

Re:Internet key? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569232)

As explained in an earlier comment, it's what Italians call USB modems. Like USB storage keys, only with INTERNET. Anonymous Coward, redundantly informative!

why do these mafia bosses live like peasants? (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about 4 years ago | (#31569188)

when they arrested the boss of bosses in Sicily a few years ago he was in a farmhouse running from the cops and sleeping in a different house every night. this guy lived in a basement. why do people choose a life where they have millions of $$$/Euros but have to live where they can't show it off and like they are poor?

Re:why do these mafia bosses live like peasants? (4, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#31569648)

why do people choose a life where they have millions of $$$/Euros but have to live where they can't show it off and like they are poor?

Because before they were on the lamb they were living like kings.

Seriously, why the hell else would you think they do it? You've only seen them at the end of their time as mob boss, they haven't been living in basements for the last 20 years, they've only been living in a basement for the last three weeks. Get it?

It takes years, decades even, to close the noose on these guys because of their money and influence, and even then you'd better have out-witted them at every turn or they'll find a way to slip away clean. In the mean time, they are living in multi-million dollar houses, eating like kings, wearing clothes worth more than ordinary people's cars, etc. There is a lot of advantage that goes with the risk - the only thing that sucks is if you get caught you are as bad off as the poor people these guys despise.

Reminds me of this Song (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 4 years ago | (#31569228)

The only thing that happened to me when I read this summary was that when I saw the word "Calabria" I immediately thought of this song [youtube.com]. And now I have it stuck in my head for the read of the day.

A Warning (2, Funny)

MrTripps (1306469) | about 4 years ago | (#31569238)

He should have known there was a problem when someone posted a picture of a horse's head on his wall.

Who will get rubed out over this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569620)

Who will get rubed out over this?

`Ho8o (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569790)

superiHor to sl0w,

Get a horse, Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31569926)

This was reported on the BBC several days ago. And the Beeb is not the fastest news network in the world. For shame, /.

Italy needs your help defeating a mafia boss (2, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 4 years ago | (#31570094)

I wonder how many toolbars and trials Italy had to install to defeat this boss?
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