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If you’re thinking of setting up for a career in computer crime, there’s many very tempting options for locating your centre of operations. The obvious place is somewhere like Russia, where as long as you make money the police will be likely to turn a blind eye for a few dollars. There are many other places where minimal law enforcement exist particularly in relation to computer crime which mean the risks are relatively negligible particularly if there’s a lack of any extradition treaties to the developed world.
However some countries are a staggeringly bad idea to base a criminal cyber empire and it looks like Turkey is one of those. The reason is now becoming clear to a 26 year old Turkish hacker named Onur Kopcak who was sentenced on Sunday for stealing 11 people’s credit card information and selling them online to other criminals. It wasn’t the world’s worst cyber crime and in fact would largely pass unnoticed in many places.
Although to be fair Onur’s crimes did extend to a few more people after more were discovered from the initial investigation – in all 54 in total claimed to have their card details stolen by him. He, along with a few other hackers set up a few interfaces designed to mimic a bank’s internet portals and combined with a phishing campaign were beginning to see some results from their criminal enterprise.
Unfortunately for the fledgling gang and in particular Onur Kopcak, these crimes were heard and sentenced separately and Onur received a 199 year sentence for the initial victims followed by an additional 135 years for the later offences. The crimes were listed as identity fraud, access device fraud, wire fraud and website forgery which are all criminal offences in Turkey.
So for a crime which probably netted only a few hundred dollars before they were caught Kopçak has been sentenced to 334 years in prison. It’s a staggering sentence and Onur will probably look in awe at the sentence handed to a UK fraudster called Theogenes de Montford who stole 35,000 credit card details and was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison for his role in the theft.
So remember all you budding cyber criminals – setting up in Istanbul or anywhere in Turkey is likely a very bad idea if there’s the slightest risk that you’ll be caught.