Banks and financial institutions are losing more cash to cyber-related fraud and scams than through more conventional means, but such activity is being hushed up, a report claims.
"[The] scale of losses in the banking sphere are not registered in official statistics. And defrauded victims more often even do not suspect that they [have been] robbed," said the report , complied by the Computer Crime Research Centre.
"Experts regard criminal [theft to be] fourfold greater with the help of computers than in cases of armed robberies of banks in the US. For the past decade annual losses have increased more than 20 times and come to tens of billions of US dollars."
When asked if East Europe's reputation as a haven for e-crooks and spammers was deserved, Vladimir Golubev, founder and director of the Ukraine-based CCRC said, "I do not agree with such statements, I think they are not true."
He added that although eastern European governments had come to understand many cybercrime issues, they were yet to legislate for them.
Golubev said that apart from countries such as Nigeria and Russia, the US still remains a heavy purveyor of spam.
While the West may be besieged with offers of college degrees and cheap loans, CCRC says the world of spam is dominated by sex and drugs.
According to Golubev, 42.6% of ads are for pills and other medicinal offers, 22% for Viagra and in third place is advertisements of different porn sources and accessories.
"The problem of fighting spam cannot be solved without international co-operation. I think that such agreements between countries will be a resulting role of fighting spam."
"If spammers' activity will grow [at] the same rates it will be difficult to use e-mail for most internet users in about six to 12 months. There is an approach to spam as a social and anti-public phenomenon in Ukraine and Russia," he said.
Julian Bajkowski writes for Computerworld Today