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BBC World News Commissions New Six-Part Series CYBERCRIMES


BBC World News has commissioned a major new six-part series, presented by technologist Ben Hammersley, exploring a global threat that could impact us all. Cybercrimes with Ben Hammersley, produced in partnership with The Open University by Tern TV, delves 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.

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

Ben Hammersley said: "Cybercrime affects each and every one of us. Every aspect of our lives 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.?

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

Series information:
Episode 1
Friday, October 31st 10:30 pm ET
Saturday, November 1st 11:30 am ET
Sunday, November 2nd 5:30 pm ET

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. Ben Hammersley explores whether the young man who now awaits trial -Ross Ulbricht- really is Dread Pirate Roberts, and finds out what impact alter egos, darknets and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have on the modern world.

Episode 2
Friday, November 7th 9:30 pm ET
Saturday, November 8th 11:30 am ET
Sunday, November 9 at 4:30 pm ET

2013 was a very bad year for big business. In February $45m was stolen from ATMs around the world after cyber criminals hacked credit cards and gave them unlimited withdrawal limits. Then, in November, 40 million credit card numbers were removed from the point-of-sale terminals of US retailer Target. Ben Hammersley travels to New York and Washington DC to look at how crime has evolved, 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.

Episode 3
Friday, November 14th at 9:30 pm ET
Saturday, November 15th at 11:30 am ET
Sunday, November 16 at 4:30 pm ET

It has been estimated that almost 70% of all email traffic is spam. And, in the online world, it is Nigeria that is often seen as the biggest culprit. Ben 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.

Episode 4
Sunday, November 16th at 9:30 pm ET
Monday, November 17th at 11:30 am ET
Tuesday, November 18th at 4:30 pm ET

The Pirate Bay is one of the largest file sharing sites in the world, founded in Sweden in 2003 by Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde. Faced with extreme pressure from the US-led entertainment industry, the founders were tried for copyright infringement in 2009. Ben Hammersley visits 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.

Episode 5
Friday, November 28th at 9:30 pm ET
Saturday, November 29th at 11:30 am ET
Sunday, November 30th at 4:30 pm ET

It has been described as the Hiroshima of cyber war, the moment where the fevered imaginations of Science fiction finally came true. A computer worm called Stuxnet disrupted what the west claimed to be Iran?s top-secret plans to build a nuclear bomb. Ben Hammersley travels to LA, Berlin and London to find out what impact Stuxnet has had on the future of warfare.

Episode 6
Friday, December 5th at 9:30 pm ET
Saturday, December 6th at 11:30 am ET
Sunday, December 7th at 4:30 pm ET

In 2013 Edward Snowden revealed to the world the systematic surveillance of global internet traffic by the US and the UK. What he revealed was simply spectacular. Ben Hammersley travels to Washington DC, New York, London and Berlin to examine the ramifications of Snowden?s NSA files. Do our governments need these powers to protect us from terrorism, paedophilia and cyber criminality? Or should we fight for the right to privacy online?

Notes to Editors

Cybercrimes with Ben Hammersley was majority funded and co-produced by the Open University.

BBC World News and, the BBC's commercially funded international 24-hour English news platforms, are owned and operated by BBC Global News Ltd. BBC World News television is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, and over 380 million households and 1.8 million hotel rooms. The channel's content is also available on 178 cruise ships, 53 airlines and 23 mobile phone networks. offers up-to-the minute international news and in-depth analysis for PCs, tablets and mobile devices to more than 76 million unique browsers each month.

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has more than 200,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas.
The OU is rated in the top five of UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, since the survey began in 2005. In 2012/13 it had a 92% satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC and has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to co-producing prime-time series such as Frozen Plant, Bang Goes the Theory, Britain?s Great War, I Bought a Rainforest and Business Boomers. For further information please visit:

Established in 1988, Tern TV has deep roots and huge experience in delivering effective and impactful storytelling. Based in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Belfast, today Tern works predominantly in the non-scripted market; specialising in talent led features & factual formats, documentary & specialist factual and international co-productions. Key clients include BBC, ITV, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery, National Geographic, Sky, PBS and the History Channel. Tern?s programmes are distributed by BBC WW, Sky Vision, DRG & Passion Distribution, and is represented in the US by ICM.

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