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Monday 21.08.2017 | Name days: Linda, Janīna

Poverty protects Latvia against forms of cyber crimes

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Author: SXCCompared to other countries in Europe and the rest of the world, Latvia is relatively poor. This protects this little country from excessive interest of cyber criminals and forms of cyber crime, the experts believe.

Latvia has no such level of welfare to have criminals employ entire schemes just to defraud small amounts of money from bank accounts. Latvia’s residents are also well protected by Latvian language, which often creates linguistic problems for foreign criminals using computer translators to create often unintentionally hilarious but not convincing fake e-mails. Thanks to the residents’ good knowledge of Russian language, Latvians are less often involved in different cyber crime schemes from Russia. “Latvia has few wealthy people to rob. It is not as easy to steal small amounts, tens of euro from people’s bank accounts, especially when these accounts do not have thousands. Cyber criminals in wealthy European countries do so. The linguistic barrier protects as well”, – as explained by the Chairman of the Latvian National IT Security Council and manager of Transport Ministry’s Communications and Transport Security Department Maris Andzans.

Computer Safety Technologies marketing director Valdis Skesters notes that there have been instances when money was stolen from bank accounts of Latvians, having made purchases on the Internet and then having those items delivered to the perpetrators.

However, according to Skesters, victims of internet fraud – private individuals – do not feel the damage at their expense, because banks and credit card companies usually compensate the damage done by criminals. Traders who receive payments from criminally used credit cards and then are left without the goods they sell are the ones to suffer the most, being forced to return the payments to the bank. Large traders, on the other hand, are insured against fraud or have prices calculated in accordance with the percentage of goods that go missing, break or become stolen.

According to Skesters, such conditions make internet users more careless: “Internet users are more worried about their social network profiles than they are about their money. Return of defrauded money relieves people. They stop thinking about simple security measures to protect the data of their internet bank profiles”, – he said.

Chief of Economic Crimes office of Latvian State Police Aleksandrs Buko says there is no clear definition of cyber crime.

Nevertheless, Latvian State police is aware of several specific types of cyber crime. The first is breaking into secure networks and acquiring resources and information. The second type includes web resources that store and distribute illegal materials (such as child pornography). The third is copyrights violations through networks. The fourth form of cyber crime is property crimes – theft of money or bank account data. The fifth type of violation – hate and racist comments on the internet – is not the kind of thing SP deals with, Buko said. This type of crime is investigated by the Latvian Security Police.

In spite of the fact that Latvia is not a particularly wealth country, Buko said there were 857 cyber crimes reported in 2012, 656 of which were related to the use of computers and computer networks for illegal means. The number of such crimes has doubles in the last two years, Buko explains. He added that it is rather hard to differentiate between crimes of this sort from most of the crimes that are carried out using simple means (via post, phone, fake advertisements, etc.).


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