Investigators face challenges in tracking down cyber criminals

(WISH Photo/ File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Five days after authorities learned of the threats in the Danville and Plainfield communities, no arrest have been made.

How long will the threats continue before police are able to apprehend the suspect? The Indianapolis Division of Homeland Security spoke with  24-Hour News 8 to discuss some of the challenges in cyber investigations.

Homeland Security is not investigating the threats in the west-side suburbs, however, HS director Gary Coons says he’s investigated comparable threats; some directed at schools, others at businesses like malls and even large-scale events like concerts and sports games.

Coons monitors activity all around the city of Indianapolis. He also has the ability to filter through a mass amount of social media posts, specifically when posts have key words, such as an innocuous tweet that read in part, “Too much fun will kill you.” But suppose it were a threatening post; how do you track down the suspect?

“Anytime you have to investigate this, there’s challenges if we have technology they’re using,” said Coons.

Adding to those challenges is the ability to “go dark,” or, as Coons explains, make a computer more difficult to trace, particularly its IP address.

“There’s technologies on phones that they use to encrypt their messaging. it’s harder to detect, if at all,” he said.

According to Coons, this type of technology doesn’t take an expert to master.

“It doesn’t take much at all. There’s free applications out there that allow you to do it, technologies that you can purchase that will allow you to do it,” he explained.

But even with challenges, Coons says he’s confident it’s just a matter of time before the suspect is found.

“There will be mistakes made by a perpetrator or by what we call an unsolved. Once those mistakes are made, then you can track down the situations,” he said.

For the community, an arrest couldn’t’ come soon enough.

“I think he needs to be locked up. Anybody who is making threats like that needs to be locked up and incarcerated,” said Charles McGinley.

“The Internet is vast, so I know they’ll be some issues on it,” said Pam McGinley.

Coons encourages anyone who witnesses anything suspicious, big or small, to contact their local law enforcement and report it.

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