The Conversation U.S. has published its first investigation, “Heists Worth Billions.” This is a collaboration between The Conversation U.S. and Georgia State University’s Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group, directed by Professor David Maimon.

The research group develops techniques to improve cybersecurity by studying online criminal networks and observing underground markets. Two years ago, Maimon and his team saw a large number of stolen checks flooding those markets. They then noticed the marketing of drop accounts – bank accounts created by using fictitious identities that money is “dropped” into – that can be used for check fraud.

Criminals rapidly figured out that an array of frauds could be facilitated by drop accounts. Building on the research group’s work, The Conversation investigated gangs that relied on, purchased or sold drop accounts, identities, checks and other materials to perpetrate their criminal activities.

The joint investigation provides an unprecedented look into a vast, secret enterprise that has stayed hidden in the darkest reaches of the internet, and exposed the huge scale of financial losses suffered by the public.

And from our Australian edition some background articles on the unfoldling Titanic submarine story:

  • As the clock ticks on the Titan sub, an expert explains what safety features a submersible should have

  • Why the Titanic disaster continues to enthral

Kurt Eichenwald

Senior Investigative Editor

Heists Worth Billions: An investigation found criminal gangs using sham bank accounts and secret online marketplaces to steal from almost anyone – and little being done to combat the fraud

David Maimon, Georgia State University; Kurt Eichenwald, The Conversation

Check fraud is one of history’s oldest financial crimes and criminals are finding new ways to use it to steal billions from banks.

As the clock ticks on the Titan sub, an expert explains what safety features a submersible should have

Eric Fusil, University of Adelaide

Most submersible designers would elect to have a classification society certify a vessel’s design. OceanGate made the conscious decision to refuse to do this for the Titan.

The world’s fish are shrinking as the climate warms. We’re trying to figure out why

Timothy Clark, Deakin University

As the world gets hotter, fish are getting smaller. The future of aquatic ecosystems – and fisheries – could depend on understanding how and why it’s happening.