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Before Half Term the Computer Science Society welcomed Graeme Batsman, a cyber-security specialist who spoke on the topic of cybercrime and internet scams. His focus on the methods of cyber-crime was particularly entertaining to the virtual audience, who were equally amazed by his efforts to stop it.

Mr Batsman is currently a trainer in cyber-security and first became involved in the industry in his late teens when he was nearly scammed by fictitious goods on eBay. He has since worked in security for major firms such as M&S and Capgemini, all whilst running numerous websites and courses to help prevent phishing and online scams.

Describing himself as a “sort of vigilante”, Mr Batsman explained how he would try to locate the perpetrators of cyber-crime using rather unorthodox methods. He would target hackers who, instead of seeking credit card information, would attempt to steal eBay or PayPal accounts, and then use those accounts to sell fake products. As well as using ReadNotify trackers (trackers that can provide information about the recipient of an email), he disclosed that he engaged in conversation with some scammers online in a sort of “weird friendship”. Before alerting law enforcement, he would then contact the victims of the phishing account, which was sometimes problematic as they were unwilling to believe that he, at the time a sixteen-year-old, was sincerely trying to help them.

Although he was clear to point out that cyber-crime does happen everywhere, Romania was used as the primary example of the source of such scams. Its recent admittance to the European Union and its status as the second poorest country in the EU were cited as reasons for the high incidence of e-crime.

In terms of how we can personally protect ourselves from e-crime, Mr Batsman urged us to question things more. While there is now more security around credit card scams, more criminals are moving to eBay and phishing scams. Cyber security is becoming increasingly important in a digital age, and we thank Mr Batsman for offering such an insightful and thought-provoking talk on the topic.

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