FOLLOWING the recent arrest of two fraudsters who sold personal data of millions of people to the dark web, cyber police today (Nov. 6) revealed they had apprehended three more scammers with one of them having written a programme to bypass facial scan and steal large sums of money from the victims’ bank accounts, Naewna newspaper said.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Thana Chuwong, acting deputy national police chief, and Pol. Lt. Gen. Worawat Watthanakornbancha, head of Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau, said Data Guardians Operation had expanded investigation after a young engineer was arrested in Phuket last July on the charges of selling personal information of over 2 million people to grey businesses.
This then led to the arrest of a middleman who obtained details of over 15 million customers of a food supplement business and sold them in batches to the engineer who in turn resold it to the dark web with this generating over 400,000 baht a month.
– Mr. Pasin (surname withheld), 41, an insurance broker in Pathum Thani who sold client information to fraudsters with cyber police checking how many names he passed on;
– Mr. Natthapong, 28, a programmer in Kalasin who wrote a programme to bypass Facial Recognition API, which is used to allow the transfer of more than 50,000 baht, and sold it to online gambling operators. However this facial scan is currently only available on certain Android cell phones.
– Mr. Yodchai, 24, administrator of a Facebook page group who sold basic information, mainly names and telephone numbers, of over 15 million people to gambling websites. This page was also used to sell and exchange data among dark web operators for profit;
At this press conference police played a video where Nattapong said the API bypass programme he wrote had two functions. The first was to transfer money by a browser without having to go through the bank’s application should scammers know the victim’s bank account number. The bank will send an OTP number to verify this transaction to the victim’s phone but as the fraudsters already have this phone number and control the device they only have to copy the OTP and send it to the bank and withdraw over 50,000 baht.
The second part is to cancel Facial Recognition API after having obtained over 50,000 baht.
Cyber police arresting three online fraudsters today, Nov. 6, 2023. Photos: Naewna