It's not just the federal government intercepting your communications. It could be a nosy relative or jealous partner. Among the five people added this week to the FBI's list of "most wanted" cybercriminals is a former San Diego college student who developed an $89 program called "Loverspy" or "Email PI." Sold online from his apartment, the program was advertised as a way to "catch a cheating lover" by sending the person an electronic greeting card that, if opened, would install malicious software to capture emails and instant messages, even spy on someone using the victim's own webcam.
The case of Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara, 33, is noteworthy because he appears to have made relatively little money on the scheme, unlike others on the FBI list who were accused of bilking millions of dollars from businesses and Internet users worldwide. But Perez-Melara, a native of El Salvador who was in the United States on a student visa in 2003 when he sold the spyware, allegedly helped turn average computer users into sophisticated hackers who could stalk their victims. The government is now offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. (Read more cybercrime stories.)