Phishing and related cybercrime is responsible for billions of dollars in losses annually. Gartner reported more than 5 million U.S. consumers lost money to phishing attacks in the 12 months ending in September 2008 (Gartner 2009). This paper asks whether the majority of organised phishing and related cybercrime originates in Eastern Europe rather than elsewhere such as China or the USA. The Russian “Mafiya” in particular has been popularised by the media and entertainment industries to the point where it can be hard to separate fact from fiction but we have endeavoured to look critically at the information available on this area to produce a survey. We take a particular focus on cybercrime from an Australian perspective, as Australia was one of the first places where Phishing attacks against Internet banks were seen. It is suspected these attacks came from Ukrainian spammers. The survey is built from case studies both where individuals from Eastern Europe have been charged with related crimes or unsolved cases where there is some nexus to Eastern Europe. It also uses some earlier work done looking at those early Phishing attacks, archival analysis of Phishing attacks in July 2006 and new work looking at correlation between the Corruption Perception Index, Internet penetration and tertiary education in Russia and the Ukraine. The value of this work is to inform and educate those charged with responding to cybercrime where a large part of the problem originates and try to understand why.
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