Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Hundreds of flights cancelled as Air France pilots strike

Read more

WEB NEWS

Investigative reporting in the digital age

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Patrick Chauvel, French war photographer

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Oscar Pistorius trial: Sprinter convicted of culpable homicide

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World this Week - September 12th, 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World this Week - September 12th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online reactions to the death of David Haines

Read more

REVISITED

Abbottabad: Life after bin Laden

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Le Figaro: is it really possible to 'destroy' the Islamic State organisation?

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2012-12-08

Romania: 'Hackerville', capital of global cybercrime

The Romanian town of Ramnicu Valcea has become the world capital of internet fraud. Young hackers, specialised in ripping off naive customers, evading police forces all over the world. Our reporter went to meet them.

It looks like a quiet, picturesque little town... but appearances can be deceptive. Nestled in the heart of Romania at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, Ramnicu Valcea has become known in the US media as “Hackerville”. It’s the world capital of internet fraud, and the United States is the main target. Each year, young Romanian hackers get their hands on one billion dollars they have scammed from US victims. That’s when they’re not hacking into NASA’s servers, just to prove that they can.

The FBI and the CIA have pressured the Romanian authorities into creating a special police unit to tackle this new type of crime., with more than 200 Romanian officers are helping track down these criminally gifted hackers. The number of arrests has risen, but hackers are using new sophisticated technology to evade capture.

Flash cars and social housing

We went to “Hackerville”, where we lifted the veil on the shadowy world of the internet fraudsters. They’re a dangerous group, who are armed and ready to protect their interests. The neighbourhood of Ostroveni is the epicentre of web crime. It’s an area full of social housing in tower blocks from the Communist era. But outside these run-down flats, the streets are full of expensive, fast cars that are a marked contrast to their surroundings. The hackers like to show off their wealth and power with these high-powered vehicles, which they race through the streets at night,.

Could these web criminals be persuaded to go 'straight'? That’s the question we asked at Bitdefender, an IT company which has become a world leader in anti-virus software.

But for now, all bets are off.

By Mirel BRAN

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-09-12 referendum

Scotland: On the path to independence?

On September 18, Scotland votes in a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. A "Yes" at the ballot box would mean the end of a union that’s lasted over 300 years and...

Read more

2014-09-05 Iraq

Kurdish fighters on the front line against IS militants

Even as Western powers struggle to put together a coalition to tackle the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS or ISIS), Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq have been battling for...

Read more

2013-05-03 Pakistan

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

When Pakistanis go to the polls to choose a new prime minister on May 11th, one candidate could seriously shake up the race. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who led the...

Read more

2014-08-08 WWI centenary

WWI: The Somme, Land of Remembrance

Every year in France, more than 200,000 visitors walk across the battlefields of the Somme. They come from Great Britain, Canada or even from Australia and New Zealand with one...

Read more

2014-08-01 France

The Depths of Hell: 1914-1918

100 years ago, on August 3rd, 1914, Germany declared war on France. Europe was thrown into chaos, and the world plunged into total war. Machine guns, tanks, toxic gas, planes,...

Read more