Don't miss




New revelations on the role of the French army in the 1960's war in Cameroon

Read more


South Africa : Students injured in clashes with police

Read more


#BadHombres and #NastyWomen

Read more


Trump's talk of rigging : what lasting damage to democracy? (part 2)

Read more


Trump's talk of rigging : what lasting damage to democracy? (part 1)

Read more


Sheltered from the storm? How the UK economy is faring four months post-Brexit

Read more


German authorities struggle with radical Salafist preachers

Read more


DJ duo The Chainsmokers on success, singing and viral videos

Read more


Race to the White House: Trump's family continue to support him

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. And you can watch it online as early as 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



2016-10-19 Iraq

Video: On the road to Mosul with Iraqi, Kurdish forces

A few weeks before Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched their offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State group jihadists, our reporters in Iraq witnessed the final preparations...

Read more

2016-10-13 Russia

The Russian secret behind Ukraine’s self-declared 'Donetsk Republic'

Two years after pro-Russian separatists declared the "Donetsk People's Republic", fighting between the Ukrainian army and separatist forces continues. But who is arming the...

Read more

2016-10-07 Argentina

Stolen children of Argentina’s dictatorship search for the truth

Imagine discovering that your surname, first name and date of birth are all lies? That your family is not your real family? Hundreds of Argentineans born during the dictatorship...

Read more

2016-09-30 Colombia

Video: The final days of Colombia’s FARC guerilla

After waging a 52-year-long insurgency against the authorities in Bogota, Colombia’s FARC guerilla agreed to finally end the bloody conflict that has cost tens of thousands of...

Read more

2016-06-23 World War I

World War I: When northern France was on German time

During World War I, 13 of France's regional departments were under German occupation. For four years, two million French citizens took their orders from Berlin. No more coal for...

Read more