A Denver woman who didn't have adequate security on her home computer paid the price.
Serry Winkler was visited by several officers with a search warrant who demanded that she turn over her computer.
They were investigating a case of computer fraud. The woman's computer was apparently infected by a bot or robot.
Someone else controlled it and caused all kinds of havoc.
"Four sheriffs from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office with flak jackets and weapons drawn pounded on my door," said Winkler. "You're just not prepared for it."
Investigators said someone hacked into Winkler's computer, stole her IP address and used it with a stolen credit card to make fraudulent purchases online. Police said they were trying to get to the bottom of it.
Winkler didn't have a firewall on her computer, which she said was too old.
"I've tried it, but it just slows it down so badly that I can't," she said.
Internet security expert Rick Orr of Symantec said that early on, hacking activity was related to fame.
"What we've seen in the last few years is a transition from a motivation of fame to a motivation of financial gain," said Orr.
He said thieves don't take holidays and when it comes to Internet security, neither should you.
"Make sure your operating system and browser are fully patched," said Orr. "Make sure you have an up-to-date Internet security solution and monitor your credit card activity."
Winkler learned that the hard way.
"Hopefully a Christmas present will be a new computer this year. We're working on it," said Winkler.
Investigators said they did not have weapons drawn when they entered Winkler's apartment but they were armed and they were wearing bulletproof vests.
Detective Mike Wagner said what happened to Winkler was part of a large-scale scam traced to a cyber crime ring in Russia.
A local sheriff in Colorado has no authority in Russia, so Boulder County has forwarded the investigative information to postal inspectors.
Investigators said it is very difficult to prosecute crimes like this across international lines.
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