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Brazil is the world capital of cybercrime, at least according to the Brazilian Federal Police. Eight in ten computer hackers are Brazilian while two in three paedophile pages are hosted in the South American country, the BBC reports. Local police say that losses from online financial fraud exceed that lost through bank robberies.

The figures - released in Brasilia, at an international conference on combating electronic crime - should be treated with caution. UK computer security experts say the figures do not gel with their experience, nor do they match our own observations of the computer underground.

The claim that 80 per cent of world's computer underworld is living it large with the sons and daughters of Samba will no doubt surprise US ID thieves, Russian DDoS gangs and German virus writers. Aside from some examples of Brazillian defacement gangs there have been few reports of cybercrime activity in the country.

Neil Barrett, technical director of security consultancy IRM, and a veteran expert witness in numerous computer crime cases, said that Eastern Europe and Indonesia are more often the source of hacking attacks than Brazil. The Indian sub-continent is the fastest growing area in the world for cybercrime, he added.

The United States - rather than Latin America as a whole, never mind just Brazil - is more commonly the locus of net paedophilia operations, according to Barrett. A global league on cybercrime incidents doesn't exist, as far as we're aware, so where do the Brazilian Feds get their figures from? They blame the country's weak computer security laws for turning the country into a playground for crackers, conmen and perverts; but we're not so sure.

This looks more like talking up a problem in the hopes of getting more government funding, than an SOS from a country on the brink of cyber-apocalypse. ®

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