Young cyber-terrorists hold top US firms to ransom in Transylvania

Monday, 30 June 2003, 1:36 PM EST

Several top American companies have been blackmailed to the tune of $50,000 a head by Romanian hackers practising 'cyber- terrorism' from the backwoods of Transylvania. Astonishingly, the cyber wizards who penetrated the databases of security-conscious corporate America turned out to be a group of Romanian high school drop-outs, work-shy provincials and students.

Romania is not exactly in the vanguard of the high-tech revolution and the medieval Transylvanian town of Sibiu, the hub of the daring hacking operation, has hitherto been better known as the birthplace of Vlad Dracula the Impaler than the new Silicon Valley of the Balkans.

The modus operandi of the Sibiu 'cyber terrorists,' as they have been nicknamed by the FBI, was simple enough: they would hack into the server of a big US company, access their protected database, download clients' personal files and then demand $50,000 for not publishing the confidential documents on the internet.

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