Don't miss




EU election observers say Guinea's presidential vote was 'valid'

Read more


Human rights on the back burner

Read more


The Saudi Dilemma (part1)

Read more


Barbara Hendricks lends her operatic voice to the refugee crisis

Read more


Shanghai shuts hundreds of polluting factories for Disneyland park

Read more


'Can France kill French citizens fighting in Syria?'

Read more


Fired Yemeni workers protest oil giant Total, and more

Read more


Andaman Islands: Exploring a rare paradise

Read more


'Nudes Are Old News at Playboy'

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.



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



2015-10-02 South Africa

Video: Farmers living in fear in South Africa

In South Africa, violence in the big cities like Pretoria, Johannesburg or Cape Town often makes the front pages of the newspapers, but crime that is terrorising countryside...

Read more

2015-09-24 Italy

Video: The children of Italy's 'Ndrangheta mafia

The 'Ndrangheta, or Calabrian mafia, is one of the most powerful criminal organisations in the world. Its annual turnover is estimated at tens of billions of euros. Nicknamed...

Read more

2015-09-18 migrants

Video: The journey to exile, from Greece to France

The migrant crisis is an issue set to plague Europe for years to come. FRANCE 24 dispatched Fernande van Tets, Karim Hakiki and Adel Gastel to cover the issue first hand, and...

Read more

2015-09-11 Algeria

Algeria's rugby pioneers seek international recognition

In Algeria, rugby is largely sidelined by the nation’s favourite sport: football. But thanks to the determination of a few avid players, Algeria has now formed a national rugby...

Read more

2015-09-04 Hungary

Video: Alongside migrants near Hungary’s razor wire fence

Every day, hundreds of migrants set off on the so-called Balkan route, one of the busiest irregular passages to Europe. Although longer, but less dangerous than that across the...

Read more