Police suspect foreigners in 12m-baht ATM theft (Updated)

Police suspect foreigners in 12m-baht ATM theft (Updated)

An A4-sized piece of paper is displayed on a Government Savings Bank ATM apologising for the inconvenience and telling customers the bank has had to shut down half its cash dispensers after 12 million baht was stolen from 21 of them as a result of malware attacks. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL
An A4-sized piece of paper is displayed on a Government Savings Bank ATM apologising for the inconvenience and telling customers the bank has had to shut down half its cash dispensers after 12 million baht was stolen from 21 of them as a result of malware attacks. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL

Police suspect the theft of more than 12 million baht from the Government Savings Bank (GSB) is the work of Eastern European criminals. Officials say money was stolen directly from the bank, not customer accounts.

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Afternoon update:

Police now say only five people were involved and at least some of them have fled the country. Here are a few more details from our online reporters:

Foreign suspects in ATM malware heist 'fled the country'

Five people from eastern Europe were involved in the theft of more than 12 million baht from Government Savings Bank (GSB) ATMs infected with malware, and some have already left the country, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.

Police investigating the attacks on GSB ATMs in six provinces now have evidence clearly implicating the five east Europeans, said Pol Gen Panya Mamen, a senior adviser to the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO).

The hunt had been intensified for the five suspects, even though some had reportedly already fled the country. Interpol had been alerted and given details.

Police investigators had witnesses and other evidence linking them to the heists. This included security camera footage that showed them inserting specially made electronic cards produced in Ukraine into GSB ATMs infected with the malware. The malware then triggered the ATMs to dispense what ultimately amounted to millions of baht in cash, Pol Gen Panya said.

Morning story

Manhunt for ATM robbers kicks off


A manhunt is under way with police investigators suspecting the theft of more than 12 million baht from the state-run Government Savings Bank (GSB) is the work of Eastern European criminals and may be linked to the multiple attacks on ATMs of a major domestic bank in Taiwan in July.

After covering up the thefts for two weeks, GSB on Tuesday shut down half of its ATMs after discovering some were infected with malware that forced them to dispense millions of baht in cash in what is the country's first recorded case of its kind.

Assuring the thefts, which took place during Aug 1-8, have not affected customer accounts, GSB president Chartchai Payuhanaveechai said the gang targeted 21 ATMs in at least six provinces and made off with 12 million baht.

The six provinces are Phuket, Surat Thani, Chumphon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi and Bangkok.

He said the bank has reviewed security camera footage and identified potential suspects as foreign nationals who infected the ATMs with malware that forced the machines to dispense banknotes.

"Their method involves stealing from the bank ATMs, not from customers' accounts," he said.

According to Mr Chartchai, the gang singled out ATMs manufactured by ATM giant manufacturer, NCR, for the attacks. So, the bank shut down about 3,300 "stand-alone" ATM machines from this maker indefinitely, until it has improved security measures to avoid further damage.

GSB has about 7,000 ATMs nationwide from three manufacturers.

However, another 600 NCR ATM machines in front of its bank branches are still functional, he said, adding that customers can use the ATMs of other commercial banks in the same area without having to pay intra-bank fees during the shutdown.

Mr Chartchai said the bank has asked the ATM maker to develop a software to counter the malware attacks and is negotiating with the firm to pay for the damages.

Pol Gen Panya Mamen, a senior police adviser, said these are the first reported malware attacks on ATMs in Thailand. Similar attacks have been reported in Malaysia and Taiwan where ATMs were cleaned out.

Based on security footage, he said police believe there are about 25 people involved in the series of thefts and they are divided into two to three teams.

He said the gang chose to empty the ATMs after midnight and spent some time stealing, so he urged members of the public who may have witnessed the thefts to come forward.

The technique of "jackpotting" cash-dispensing machines using malware is well known and has occurred around the world. It was demonstrated at a hackers' conference in Las Vegas in 2010 and has been reported almost regularly since.

A source said the gang had hacked into the bank's system several times and lured them into thinking it was a false alarm before they installed the malware at an ATM of GSB in Phangnga during March-April.

According to the source, the tampering was detected but it was ignored due to prior false alarms.

To steal the money, the gang inserted an electronic card into the ATMs which forced them to release as many as 40 banknotes per withdrawal. Normally, the number of banknotes released in a withdrawal is capped at 20.

You can read the full story here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1069356/manhunt-for-atm-robbers-kicks-off

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  • account: bank account; money kept in a bank - บัญชี
  • adviser (noun): a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject - ที่ปรึกษา
  • alert: to tell someone in about a danger or problem so that they can take action to deal with it - เตือนภัย
  • assure: to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen - ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน
  • avoid: to try to prevent something from happening - หลีกเลี่ยง
  • banknote: paper money - ธนบัตร
  • branch: an office, company, shop, etc., representing a large company or organisation in a particular area - สาขา
  • cap: to have an upper limit; to have an upper limit on an amount of money that can be spent or borrowed - มีขีดสูงสุด
  • case: a matter that is being officially investigated, especially by the police - คดี
  • cash: money in the form of notes or coins - เงินสด
  • conference (noun): a large official meeting, usually lasting for a few days, at which people with the same work or interests come together to discuss their views - การประชุมร่วม
  • counter (verb): to take action to oppose or stop something - ต่อต้าน
  • cover up (verb): to hide a mistake or illegal activity from the public - ปกปิด, ปิดป้อง
  • criminals (noun): people who have committed a crime, i.e., people who have carried out an illegal activity or action - ผู้ที่ทำผิดกฎหมาย
  • demonstrate (verb): to show something and explain how it works - สาธิต
  • detected: noticed, discovered or found out - จับได้ พบได้
  • discover: to find somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - ค้นพบ
  • dispense: to give out something to people - จ่ายยาให้
  • dispense (verb): to give out something to people - จ่ายให้
  • domestic: inside the country being talked about - ภายในประเทศ
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • evidence: facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime - หลักฐาน
  • false alarm: an occasion when people are wrongly led to believe that something dangerous or unpleasant is happening or will happen - สัญญาณเตือนที่ผิดพลาด
  • fee: an amount of money that you pay to be allowed to do something - ค่าธรรมเนียม
  • firm: a business or company - บริษัท
  • fled (past of flee): escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there - หนีไป
  • functional: able to be used - ใช้การได้
  • hack: to secretly find a way of looking at and/or changing information on somebody else's computer system without permission - เจาะเข้าโปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
  • hacker: a person who secretly finds a way of looking at and/or changing information on somebody else's computer system without permission - ผู้ที่มีความชำนาญในการใช้คอมพิวเตอร์ไปในทางที่ผิดกฎหมาย เช่น แอบขโมยข้อมูลจากคอมพิวเตอร์ในเครือข่าย
  • heist: (informal) an act of stealing something valuable, especially from a shop/store or bank - การปล้น (คำสแลง)
  • identified (verb): named, searched for a discovered - ระบุ
  • ignore: to intentionally not listen or give attention to - ทำเพิกเฉย
  • implicate: to show or suggest that someone is involved in wrongdoing - โยงใยถึง
  • improve: to make better - ทำให้ดีขึ้น
  • indefinitely: for a period of time with no fixed end - ไม่มีข้อกำหนด
  • infected (verb): having been affected by a computer virus or another harmful software program -
  • insert: to put something into something else or between two things - ใส่, สอด, สอดใส่
  • intensify: to strengthen - เข้มข้นขึ้น
  • Interpol: an international organization that enables the police forces of different countries to help each other to solve crimes - องค์การตำรวจสากล
  • investigators (noun): people whose jobs are to officially find out the facts about something - ผู้สอบสวน, ผู้สำรวจ, ผู้ตรวจสอบ
  • involve (verb): to be an important or necessary part or result of something - เกี่ยวพัน, เกี่ยวข้อง, พัวพัน
  • jackpot (noun): the highest prize in a lottery; a large amount of money that is the most valuable prize in a game of chance - เงินกองกลางที่พอกขึ้นในการเล่นการพนันหรือโป๊กเกอร์รางวัลใหญ่
  • kick off: to begin an event; to launch - เริ่มต้น, เริ่มทำ
  • linked: connected - เชื่อมต่อ เชื่อมโยง
  • lure (verb): to persuade someone to do something by making it seem very attractive - หลอกล่อ
  • made off with (verb): stole something and hurried away with it - ฉกหนีไป, ขโมยและรีบหนีไป
  • malware: software such as a virus that is designed to damage, destroy or steal information on a computer - รูปแบบหนึ่งของโปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์ ที่ถูกออกแบบมาด้วยจุดประสงค์แอบแฝงบางอย่าง
  • manhunt: an organised search for a person, especially a criminal - การล่าหัว  การตามล่าจับกุม
  • manufacture: to make and produce a product - ผลิต
  • manufacturer: a person or company that manufactures a product - ผู้ผลิต
  • measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
  • method: a particular way of doing something - วิธีการ,วิธีดำเนินการ
  • multiple: many - มากมาย
  • national: a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน
  • nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
  • negotiate: to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way - เจรจาต่อรอง
  • potential: possible - ความเป็นไปได้
  • prior: before - ก่อนหน้า
  • record (verb): to make a written account of something that is kept so that it can be looked at and used in the future - บันทึก, รายงาน
  • regularly: done or happening often, especially with the same time and space in between each activity and the next - เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ
  • release (verb): to let something move freely; to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere - ปล่อย
  • security: protection; systems providing for safety from attack, harm, or damage - ระบบรักษาความปลอดภัย
  • security camera footage: video from a camera that is put in a place to constantly record what happens there - ภาพหรือหนังในเทปวิดีโอจากกล้องวงจรปิดเพื่อรักษาการความปลอดภัย
  • senior: with a high rank or position - อาวุโส
  • series (noun): several events or things of a similar kind that happen one after the other - สิ่งที่ต่อเนื่องกัน, อนุกรม, ลำดับ
  • similar: like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
  • single out: to choose one person, organisation, etc. from a group for special attention - เลือกเฉพาะ, เลือกจากกลุ่ม
  • source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว
  • stand-alone (adj): able to be operated on its own without being connected to a larger system -
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • suspect: a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
  • suspect: to believe that something is true, especially something bad - สงสัย, เป็นที่สงสัยว่า
  • tampering (noun): trying to change something that should not be changed - การยุ่งเหยิง; การเปลี่ยนเพื่อทำลาย
  • target: to deliberately try to attack someone or something - ตั้งเป็นเป้าหมาย
  • technique: a method of doing something using a special skill that you have developed - เทคนิค, กลวิธี (เฉพาะด้าน)
  • the public: people in general - ประชาชน, สาธารณชน, มหาชน
  • theft (noun): (the act of) dishonestly taking something which belongs to someone else and keeping it - การลักขโมย
  • took place (verb): happened (in the past) -
  • trigger: to cause - ก่อให้เกิด กระตุ้น
  • ultimately: finally, after a series of things have happened - ท้ายที่สุด, ตอนสุดท้าย, ในที่สุด
  • under way (adj): happening now, currently happening - กำลังดำเนินต่อไป
  • urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
  • withdrawal: taking money out of the bank - การถอนเงิน
  • witness: a person who sees something happen - ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์
  • witness (verb): to see something happen - มองเห็น, เป็นพยาน
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