ORLANDO – Across the globe, John J. Suzuki noted, there are folks who spend countless hours developing increasingly savvy and sophisticated ways of using the Internet to advance their business. Some of these software developers have proven to be positively brilliant in their methods, Suzuki noted.
It’s just too bad, he added, that they’re the bad guys.
And a popular spot for them, Suzuki noted, is Ramnicu Valcea, a city in the central-south area of Romania at the foothills of the Southern Carpathians. So many of these so-called computer geeks go there, he added, that their work has put this small Romanian city on the map.
“It’s also known as Hackersville,” he said.
And sadly, Suzuki added, Ramnicu Valcea isn’t the only place drawing in hackers in multiple numbers.
“These guys are popping up all over the place because they can do it, anywhere there is an Internet hookup,” said Suzuki, the vice president of sales and relationship management for Home Away Software for Professionals.
Home Away provides advanced software programs for property managers working in the vacation home industry, where fully-furnished houses are marketed to tourists on a short-term basis as a vacation rental. It’s a fast-growing field in Central Florida, particularly in Northeast Polk County along U.S. 27 and in Osceola County along U.S. 192 near the theme parks.
Last week, Suzuki addressed the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association as the group held its annual Trade Show, this year at SeaWorld’s Ports of Call convention Center. Sukuzi used the event to encourage vacation home property managers to be sure they have a Web site that can be used to market their business and sell their vacation homes in a competitive hospitality field, a site that would include photos, maps, reviews, calendars, and Mobile App browsers.
But he’s also cautioning the property managers to consider installing security devices as well, since rival vacation home firms and large hotels, he added, are not the only ones looking to steal their customers away.
“There’s a scam going on out there called ‘Fishing,’ ” he said. “It’s not hugely widespread – yet.”
But it can have disastrous consequences for the victims, he added.
“Somehow, in some way, someone gets your password to your email account,” he said. “It starts with an email from your bank, saying there has been an emergency and you need to change your password. So you click on the link to your ‘bank,’ and change your password — and give it to them. So they intercept your email account and your emails go to them. By that time, you have to get a whole new email account. It’s not enough to just change your password.”
A lot more damage has been done by then, he added.
“Next thing you know, they get the emails from your guests, and they are asking your guests for money, and then the guest shows up at your door and you’re saying ‘I have no idea who you are,’ ” Suzuki said. “That doesn’t make any of us look good.”
According to the Web site www.cyber-security-tips.com, scammers and hackers come from all across the globe, sending out scam email to unsuspecting victims worldwide, often as part of crime groups working in developing countries.
They often spend all day targeting consumers and Internet users, the site notes, forcing many western nations to develop cybercrime units at state and local law enforcement agencies to fight back.
“The worldwide cybercrime industry is growing at a phenomenal rate, according to the 2011 Norton Cybercrime report,” the site notes, adding that 431 million adults got defrauded in 2011 alone.
“If you were to track down the world wide web of scams, you end up at a small city in outback Romania,” the site notes. “Ramnicu Valcea is known as the cybercrime capital of the world and has been nicknamed ‘Hackersville.’ Nestled in the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps, the city of 100,000 people, is dripping with wealth. There are more expensive cars than you would ever see in any provincial city of the same size in a western country.”
That’s because cybercrimes and hacking have become enormously profitable, the site notes, adding “Romania has a massive cybercrime problem that is hitting the citizens of western countries every day. You are targeted because you are deemed by the cybercriminals to be wealthy.”
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