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Cybercrime in Bulgaria still weak, but gaining power: official

SOFIA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Cybercrime in Bulgaria might not be a world class act, but the phenomenon is gradually gaining strength, an official said here on Tuesday.

"Fortunately, cybercrime in Bulgaria is not world class, perhaps because the cybercriminals do not see a big target here," Vasil Petkov, an officer in the cybercrime section at the Bulgarian Chief Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, told a cyber defense conference.

According to Petkov, a possible reason was that bank accounts in the country do not contain huge amounts of money.

However, cybercrime in Bulgaria was still on the radar and it was a transborder activity, with a stable trend of using "financial mules," especially in laundering money acquired abroad, Petkov said.

Attacks against websites of public organizations and private companies, as well as the distribution of illegal content such as copyright objects and child pornography, were also long-term trends, he said.

A relatively new trend was the dissemination of payment instruments data, so-called carding, he said, while another new trend was the interference in inter-company email communication, wherein a middleman inserted his bank account to receive money instead of the real bank account.

Petkov said that since the beginning of 2014, law enforcement authorities registered targeted attacks to Bulgarian companies with corporate accounts in Bulgarian banks.

Criminals remotely accessed the accounting systems of these companies and generated illegal online transactions worth at least 500,000 U.S. dollars in total, he said.

"Many companies suffered from this problem, one of them went bankrupt because the transaction was single, but huge," Petkov said.

To deal with the problem, most banks have introduced additional authentication procedures, he added.

Cryptolocker was another current trend, with criminals infecting computers with a Trojan horse-type Ransomware which encrypts files and demands money in return for the code to decrypt the files, Petkov described.

According to the Bulgarian ministry of transport, information technology and communications, during the first eight months of 2014, the authorities registered more than 1,800 cases of breaching security mechanisms in the information systems on the Bulgarian Internet. Examples cited included password thefts and viruses, with 244 cases posing a high degree of threat to government institutions, large organizations, and enterprises.

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