Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Argentina: The Kirchner era

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tunisia presidential elections: Final day of campaigning ahead of Sunday's vote

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Holiday season: celebrating a secular Christmas

Read more

#THE 51%

Are toys really us?

Read more

ENCORE!

Child brides, the people of Syria and New York’s homeless

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Pakistan in mourning after school massacre

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya: Security law approved despite disruptions in Parliament

Read more

DEBATE

Wrecked Rouble: Putin Defiant as Currency Tumbles (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Wrecked Rouble: Putin Defiant as Currency Tumbles (part 1)

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

2014-12-19 Argentina

Argentina: The Kirchner era

The woman dubbed by some the new Eva Perón is a divisive figure. Cristina Kirchner succeeded her husband, Nestor, as president of Argentina back in 2007. A year ahead of...

Read more

2014-02-14 Cameroon

Central African Republic and the 'convoy of hope'

Despite the presence of French troops and an African Union-led peacekeeping force, the situation in the Central African Republic remains extremely volatile. Clashes between the...

Read more

2014-12-12 China

China: An 'Africatown' in Guangzhou

With twelve million inhabitants, Guangzhou, in southern China, is the third largest city after Shanghai and Beijing. Like the rest of globalised China, it attracts people from...

Read more

2014-12-05 France

Do French Jews have reason to fear?

"For the first time in 70 years, France has become a country of Jewish emigration". This is how the Chairman of France’s Central Consistory, Joël Mergui, gloomily sums up the...

Read more

2014-11-28 Lebanon

Lebanon's Shebaa, a village caught in the crossfire

It’s just another small Sunni village in southern Lebanon. But Shebaa, a Hezbollah stronghold on the crossroads of Israel and Syria, is now a flashpoint in a spreading war. With...

Read more