Cyber-fraud case revives online banking security talks


After at least 40,000 people in Thailand were victims online banking cyber Fraud, the Cyber ​​Crime Investigation Bureau is renewing discussions about the security of these online transactions. Recent losses suffered by those using online banking services are estimated at more than 10 million baht after hackers stole credit and debit card information.

Kornchai Klayklueng, the commissioner of the CCIB, claims that the initial investigation revealed that the hackers may have used 3 channels to steal this information. The channels included: sending text messages to trick people into giving up their personal information, cardholders who had linked their bank accounts to online applications, and stealing information from cardholders carrying out daily transactions in stores or gas stations.

The Bank of Thailand and the Thai Bankers Association released statements late Sunday saying their initial investigations indicated the mobile banking system had not been hacked. They also said the banking apps did not illegally transfer customers’ money. But, the BOT then said the loss was estimated at 130 million baht and promised to reimburse customers for the losses and suspend all hacked cards. Then the BOT and other commercial banks said many accounts showed many suspicious transactions from overseas online purchases.

Niwet Arphawasin, Commander-in-Chief of the Technological Crime Investigation and Analysis Division, said the recent fraud was carried out by hackers finding a loophole in the payment system. He also noted that some banks would not inform customers if the amount illegally debited was nominal. As the new case featured numerous customers claiming their accounts had illegal withdrawals of less than 100 baht, the loophole found appears to be faithful to recent victimizations. Prinya Hom-anek, a cybersecurity expert, advised people to use a credit card instead of a debit card for future transactions.

“Credit cardholders have to pay the money later, so they may refuse to make payments for goods or services they did not purchase. In the case of debit cardholders, the Money is immediately deducted from their accounts, making it difficult for them to justify reimbursement when illegal transactions take place.

Prinya also advised customers not to link their debit cards to their main savings accounts. Instead, he says they should create a separate bank account with a smaller balance. Moreover, he says that those who do not subscribe to SMS alerts on their account transactions put themselves at a higher risk of becoming a victim of fraud.



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