Bukit Aman sends out anti-vice crack team on ATM hackers’ trail

Stafoc personnel in action during a demonstration on Police Day in March. — Picture by Bernama
Stafoc personnel in action during a demonstration on Police Day in March. — Picture by Bernama

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PETALING JAYA, Oct 3 — Police, in their effort to track down the gang that hacked into 18 automated teller machines (ATM) belonging to four banks, have rolled out their elite crack team ­— the Special Task Force on Organised Crime (Stafoc). 

Sources said Stafoc carried out surveillance operations in areas where there were high presences of Latin Americans to gather intelligence on the suspects. 

“Stafoc’s undercover team are tracking them by going to areas where these Latin Americans usually hang out, including bars,” the source said. 

He said several condominiums in Klang Valley are also focus areas of the operations. 

The source said police were gathering as much information as they could on the gang after its members carried out the 21st century bank heist.

The gang’s hacking frenzy, four days in a row since last Friday, saw them raking in over RM3 million from 18 ATMs. Police had released the photofits of four suspects, aged between 20 and 30. 

“We know we will get them. It is just a matter of time and eventually they will slip.”

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Department deputy director (cyber-crime) SAC Mohd Kamarudin Md Din said police were studying statements recorded from the complainants, security guards, bank staff and the ATM vendors. 

He also said police were investigating if the bank staff were involved or if the suspects received help from the ATM vendors to obtain an insight of the machines. 

“We are also studying fingerprints found on all the ATMs.”

No new cases of ATM theft were reported since Tuesday. However, police, with the help of banks, were continuously monitoring the situation. 

The banks which were hit since last Friday were Affin Bank, Bank Islam, Al-Rahji and United Overseas Bank (M) Bhd located in the Klang Valley, Johor Baru and Malacca.

Border control had been alerted and police urged money-changing operators to inform them if they were approached by individuals with huge sum of money. 

The machines that were hit were the NCR 5587 ATMs. The gang hacked into the machine via the “ulssm.exe” malware.

The suspects opened the ATM’s top panel and inserted a disc to infect the machine with the virus. Once the disc was ejected, they would close the panel and their accomplices would withdraw the money by typing automatically generated codes, usually sent to vendors through their mobile phone. 

On Tuesday, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government would ask financial institutions to replace the ATMs.

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