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Monday, September 29, 2014

Syndicate uses computer virus to break into ATMs, a first in Malaysia, say cops

The Latin American syndicate, behind the theft of more than RM1 million from ATM machines in Johor, Selangor and Malacca in the last 48 hours, used a computer virus to "infect" the system before emptying the machines, said the police.
Bukit Aman's Cyber Crime and Multimedia Investigation deputy director SAC Mohd Kamarudin Md Din said this was the first time in Malaysia that a virus was used to steal money from ATMs.
Initial investigations revealed that the syndicate had used a virus known as ULSSN to disrupt the ATM system.
He said so far, seven cases involving two banks – a local and an international bank – have reported the breach over the weekend, with the latest two in Kota Damansara, Selangor and Malacca.
He said that with a large number of gang members, the syndicate was able to deploy accomplices to the three states to execute the heists simultaneously.
"Although the two cases in Malacca and Kota Damansara were only reported today, we believe the syndicate had carried out the theft around the same time during the weekend.
"This is because they knew that the bank and the authorities would already be on high alert once the thefts were detected. The bank would have boosted their security by then," said Kamaruddin.
He said a special task force has been set up to oversee the investigation into the cases reported so far.
"This is not the first time a virus was used to steal money from banking institutions. Similar cases have also been reported in other countries. This, however, is a first for Malaysia," he said.
Kamaruddin said police checks showed that the ATMs were infected when the syndicate member inserted a compact disc containing the virus into the computer system.
That was not the only thing the syndicate did as they were said to have used a SIM card as well as other high tech devices to carry out their plan.
It was understood that the virus was created only to override the ATM's system and not the other banking system and facilities.
Police said bank accounts, belonging to individuals, were intact.
It was reported earlier today that a total of RM1.271 million was stolen from six ATMs belonging to Affin Bank Berhad and Affin Islamic Bank Berhad in Johor, Malacca and Selangor.
The bank, in a statement, said their ATMs were tampered with on Saturday, resulting in cash being stolen from the machines.
The affected ATMs are located in Johor Baru, Batu Pahat and Taman Molek (all in Johor), Melaka Raya as well as PJ State and USJ in Selangor, the statement said.
So far, only Affin Bank has come forward to reveal the heists.
- TMI

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