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BBC World News to launch cybercrime series

MUMBAI: BBC World News is all set to launch a new six-part series on cybercrimes, presented by technologist Ben Hammersley.

The series will explore a global threat that could impact everyone. Produced in partnership with The Open University by Tern TV, the series will delve into the dark world of hacking, now home to a new generation of highly organised cybercriminals running complex commercial enterprises, involving leaders, planners, engineers, infantry and hired money mules.

It will air on BBC World News and BBC News Channel starting 1 November from 7 to 9 am with a repeat the next day at 3 pm.

Journeying into a murky online world, Hammersley investigates the scam emails that fill up the inbox, why credit card details are under threat and how drugs and guns can be bought anonymously on the darknet. He also discovers that governments have the ability to spy on their citizens or launch cyber warfare at the push of a button.

Hammersley said, “Cybercrime affects each and every one of us. Every aspect of our life is vulnerable to the criminal abuse of our networked world—not just by hackers and criminals, but by governments and foreign enemies. In this series, we tell the jaw-dropping stories of some of the biggest cybercrimes of our time and what’s being done to try and thwart the criminals.”

The first episode will be on ‘Darknets’ airing from 7:30 to 9 am with a repeat the next day at 3 pm. It will showcase how the Silk Road was a billion dollar drugs marketplace on the darknet, run by a mastermind called Dread Pirate Roberts. Then, in October 2013, the site was closed down by the FBI and its alleged founder arrested in San Francisco. Hammersley explores if Ross Ulbricht, the young man who now awaits trial is the real Dread Pirate Roberts, and finds out what impact alter egos, darknets and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have on the modern world.

The second episode will be on ‘Heists’ airing on 8 November, with a repeat on 9 November at 3 pm. Here, Hammersley travels to New York and Washington DC to look at how crime has evolved by forensically examining the many ranks and roles of a modern criminal organisation. He also asks whether the vast fruits of cybercrime are responsible for the fall in violent crime in the West.

In the third episode on ‘Scams’, Hammersley travels to Lagos to meet online scammers and the police tasked with tracking them down. He also tells the incredible story of how, in the mid-’90s, Nigerian scammers stole nearly a quarter of a billion dollars from Brazilian bank Noroeste. But in a diverse country of 168 million and the largest economy in Africa, Ben asks if labelling Nigeria as the worst offender is just another lazy stereotype. It will air on 15 November with a repeat on 16 November.

The fourth episode on ‘Piracy’ will air on 17 November, with a repeat the next day. It will showcase Hammersley visiting Stockholm to tell the story of the internet trial of the century and looks at how it affected our relationship with Big Media, copyright and the notion of ownership online.

‘Cyber War’ will be the fifth episode to be telecast on 29 November and a repeat the next day, which will have Hammersley travelling to LA, Berlin and London to find out what impact Stuxnet has had on the future of warfare.

The final episode will be on the topic of ‘Surveillance’ to be aired on 6 December and a repeat on 7 December. It will focus on Hammersley’s travels to Washington DC, New York, London and Berlin to examine the ramifications of Snowden’s NSA files.

‘Cybercrimes with Ben Hammersley’ is majority-funded by the Open University, with the series produced and directed by Will Aspinall and exec-produced by Harry Bell for Tern TV. It was commissioned for The Open University by Caroline Ogilvie.