The ranks of Romania's cyber crime cops are swelling amid a crackdown on the hoards of audacious hackers and fraudsters operating in the country.
Over seven years, the anti-hacking police force has risen from just seven cops to 280, each trained in the art of counter fraud operations.
The agency competed with local infosec firms to hire the country's famously mathematically-minded youth who would be equally well-equipped to forge a career plundering online transactions, jacking ATMs or hacking corporates.
Seasoned cybercrime police from Europe and the US – but not Australia – were permanently based alongside Romania's cops to aid cross-border enforcement and investigation.
In the past two years, Romania's cyber cops nabbed 500 carders and hackers across the country. More than 1000 cybercrime cases were investigated each year.
Romanian Police deputy director Virgil Spiridon said it recruited talent from the nation's technical universities.
“We have a been actively recruiting a lot of intelligent and technical people as sworn police,” Spiridon said.
He said carder gangs there targeted Aussie ATMs along with those across Romania.
Westerners bore the brunt of their attacks. Last year SC broke news that hackers in that country had stolen almost half a million bank cards from Australian small businesses resulting in some $25 million in fraud.
Australian Federal Police said the Romanian cops were instrumental in cracking down on the gang.
Computer crime ran largely unchecked in the country until 2003 when the nation introduced its first cybercrime law which, with subsequent stiffening, can – but rarely does – result in maximum sentences of 20 years.
The spotlight fell on cybercrime in Romania when France24 investigated the town of Ramnicu Valcea which was billed as the global capital of electronic fraud.