Suspected hacker 'a soldier'
published : 8 Apr 2023 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Wassana Nanuam
A hacker who claimed to have obtained the personal data of 55 million Thais is an army officer who appears to have acted alone, authorities said yesterday.
Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, minister of Digital Economy and Society, and Pol Lt Gen Worawat Watnakhonbancha, chief of the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB), held a press conference yesterday amid reports that the suspect and his wife had been detained.
Mr Chaiwut said investigators had identified the hacker and are working with his supervisors to bring the suspect in for questioning. The minister did not disclose the suspect's name, but said he is an army sergeant major second class.
He said those who were affected by the hack can lodge a complaint with a number of agencies, depending on the damage incurred, under the Personal Data Protection Act.
"In this case, we can't establish the motive because he changed his stance," Mr Chaiwut said. "He may want to discredit the agency that was breached or just to take pleasure in [the act]."
"But I can assure that if hackers are still in the country, we can track them down," he added.
Pol Lt Gen Worawat said an arrest warrant had been issued and the suspect is wanted on a charge of disseminating information causing a public scare under the computer crime law.
The CCIB commissioner said the suspect's work and his unit are not related to information technology, and that his motive was likely to be personal.
He said police have to follow procedure in the arrest of a member of the military, adding if he is on active duty, his supervisors must bring him in. The suspect and his wife could not currently be contacted, he added.
Pol Lt Gen Worawat said police could not confirm how exactly the suspect managed to obtain the data or whether the breach has truly affected 55 million people, pending an examination of the suspect's tools.
Maj Gen Sirichan Nga-thong, deputy army spokeswoman, yesterday said the army is cooperating closely with the police to bring the suspect in.
She insisted that the suspect acted on his own and that neither the army nor his unit was involved.
The hacker reportedly posted on BreachForums claiming he had obtained the personal information of 55 million Thais, including names, addresses and telephone numbers.
On the 9near.org website, which has been blocked, the hacker threatened to release the information unless the breached state agency contacted him within a deadline.
At the same time, some newscasters have received text messages containing their personal data.