Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Sniffing Out Email Scammers

PostedNovember 15, 2018

Download File (mp3)

Lede: E-mail scams are the number one global cybercrime, but a newly engineered search tool is now being deployed to reveal the crooks.

Randy Atkins: It’s called “Beagle” because the tool sniffs through hundreds of thousands of emails to track fraud…from fake financial opportunities to romance scams. Enrico Bertini, an NYU engineering professor created it in collaboration with data security startup Agari. He says it’s sort of like a Google search.

Enrico Bertini: Our system works in a similar way but the kind of summaries that we produce is much more, I would, say sophisticated…which includes who are the people that are involved in the communication…

Randy Atkins: …reconstructing the picture of how scammers operate and why some people fall into the trap. The visual interface – which shows patterns and links between content and geography in emails – can also incorporate text messages and online chats.

Enrico Bertini: As long as you have two or more people communicating through a message, and you have content and date, the system can handle this type of data.

Randy Atkins: Bertini says the FBI is already using Beagle to help speed up and build cases, so scammers beware! With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.