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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
Brazil is world 'hacking capital'
By Tom Gibb
BBC, Sao Paulo

Hacking itself is not a crime in Brazil
Brazil has become the global capital for computer hacking and internet fraud, according to experts meeting in the country's capital, Brasilia.

Some 500 experts from around the world are attending the first international conference to combat electronic crime.

Brazil is home to eight out of 10 of the world's hackers, according to federal police at the conference.

Within Brazil, the amount of money lost in internet financial fraud outstrips that lost through bank robberies.

Roughly two-thirds of the internet's child pornography pages are also said to originate in the country.

These statistics are supported by security experts from other countries who say some 96,000 hacking attacks were launched from Brazil last year - six times more than any other country.

Intellectual challenge

Many of the hackers work in groups with names like Breaking Your Security or Virtual Hell.

The explosion in hacking is blamed, in part, on weak legislation.

Hacking itself is not a crime in Brazil so police have to prove fraud has taken place in order to prosecute.

Brazilian hackers often do not consider themselves criminals, saying they break into sites for the intellectual challenge rather than to steal.

Last year, websites in the US were the target of the huge majority of hacking attacks.

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