Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Dotard: an educational insult

Read more

#TECH 24

Medtech: Repairing the human body

Read more

ENCORE!

Jennifer Lawrence on why she's unafraid to speak out

Read more

#THE 51%

Hola "Ellas Hoy" - The 51 Percent welcomes its sister show on FRANCE 24 Spanish

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

A stroll through the Corsican city of Calvi, jewel of the Mediterranean

Read more

REPORTERS

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

Read more

FOCUS

'Generation Merkel' yearns for continuity and stability

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Amazon rainforest pays heavy price for Brazil's political crisis

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Presidential election re-run pushed back to October 26th

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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

2017-09-22 Middle East

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

In the last few years, Syria’s Christians have been subjected to violent attacks and kidnappings by the Islamic State group. Churches have been burnt and entire villages in the...

Read more

2017-09-15 Middle East

Video: How the Haredim, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox, make their own rules

In Israel, the Haredim community (or "Those in awe of God") lives separately from the rest of Israeli society. Dressed all in black, these ultra-Orthodox practise a strict form...

Read more

2017-09-07 DR Congo

In DR Congo, karate helps rape victims rebuild their lives

For the past three years, Frenchwoman Laurence Fischer, a three-time world karate champion, has travelled to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to help female victims of...

Read more

2017-09-01 Japan

Video: Returning home to Fukushima

On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, in 1986. Just like in the Soviet Union,...

Read more

2017-08-23 Africa

Video: The fight for survival in drought-hit Somaliland

Since the beginning of this year, Somaliland, an autonomous territory in the Horn of Africa, has been ravaged by severe drought. As eighty percent of the region’s livestock has...

Read more