6 nabbed for hacking ATMs in Indonesia

KUALA LUMPUR - Indonesian police nabbed six Malaysians on Friday for allegedly hacking into the accounts of 112 Bank Central Asia (BCA) customers through automated teller machines (ATMs) and stealing 1.24 billion rupiah (S$136,000).

An Indonesian official told the New Straits Times that the five suspects, aged between 24 and 42, were high on Indonesia's National Police wanted list, while another suspect was arrested for assisting in the crime.

"The investigations have been ongoing for about a month before police picked them up in Batam, Indonesia, when they attempted to leave for Johor Baru," he said, adding that all six suspects were later transported to Jakarta for further investigations.

He said the suspects entered Indonesia through Medan and were heading back to Malaysia through the Batam Central ferry terminal when they were arrested.

Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department deputy director (operation and intelligence), Datuk Abdul Jalil Hassan, said the department had been liaising with its counterpart in Batam, but nothing had been revealed yet.

"As of now, we cannot deny nor confirm whether the suspects committed any illegal activities, as no information has been revealed from our counterparts there."

English daily The Jakarta Post's website reported that the six Malaysians had been arrested in Batam on Friday for allegedly breaching the security in a case of computer-assisted fraud.

The report also stated that police were investigating the possibility that other banks may have also fallen victim to the syndicate's activities.

Meanwhile, Bernama has quoted Indonesia's National Police Special Economic Crime chief, Brig Gen Arief Sulistyanto, as saying the six suspects were part of a 21-man syndicate whose modus operandi include installing skimmers and electronic devices that read data from customers' cards on four BCA ATMs located at hospitals in Jakarta and Bandung.

Initial investigations revealed between Feb 8 and 15, the syndicate installed the skimmers on card slots and small cameras above ATMs machines.

"The cameras were used to record the bank customers' PIN numbers. Syndicate members could encode customer data, using any card with magnetic stripes, including hotel key cards," he told English daily The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.