Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Candidates Goodluck Jonathan and Mohamudu Buhari call for calm

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Anger at mental health stigmatisation after crash allegations

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Yemen, the Escalation; France's Three Way Race; Clarkson Shown the Exit (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Germanwings Crash; Co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day (part 1)

Read more

#THE 51%

The extraordinary tale of the Egyptian mother who lived as a man

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: San Cristobal, Venezuela's tinderbox

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France's chronic umemployment problem

Read more

FOCUS

Portugal: Anger at corruption scandals, one year after bailout

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Bistronomy: Stylish and simple eating

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

2015-03-27 Venezuela

Video: San Cristobal, Venezuela's tinderbox

For more than a year, protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government have frequently flared in the town of San Cristobal, in the western state of Tachira.

Read more

2015-03-19 Syria

The Syrian woman who dared film life under the IS group

FRANCE 24 meets the young Syrian woman who secretly filmed the Islamic State group in their Raqqa stronghold in Syria and was forced to flee to France, fearing for her life.

Read more

2015-02-12 Tunisia

Tunisians flock to join jihad

As Tunisia moves slowly forward on the path to democracy, the country is proportionally one of the biggest exporters of jihadist fighters. Over the past three years thousands of...

Read more

2015-03-12 Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s controversial 'Renaissance Dam'

In April 2011, Ethiopia began the construction of a huge dam on the Nile. The dam is expected to produce as much energy as six nuclear power stations for one of the world's...

Read more

2015-03-06 Chad

Chad's war against Boko Haram

For several years, Boko Haram has been sowing terror in Nigeria. And the Islamic sect has extended its reach to Cameroon, Niger, and now to Chad.

Read more