Search for military hacker escalates as police give seven day deadline
published : 9 Apr 2023 at 05:24
newspaper section: News
The army is keen to interrogate a hacker alleged to have worked in its ranks after the Royal Thai Police (RTP) on Saturday submitted a letter to the suspect's supervisor and the army staff judge advocate to have him brought in for questioning within seven days.
The army's move came after national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas on Saturday ordered the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) to bring in a suspect who claimed to have obtained the personal data of 55 million Thais.
Pol Gen Damrongsak said he had assigned CCIB commissioner Pol Lt Gen Worawat Watnakhonbancha to work with the suspect's supervisor and the army staff judge advocate to bring him in for questioning.
Deputy army spokeswoman Maj Gen Sirichan Nga-tong said the army has not received a letter from the RTP. However, the force has ordered the suspect's supervisors to track him down. She said the army and the suspect's family have yet to locate him.
Maj Gen Sirichan further said the suspect's crime was deemed personal and not related to his army unit. However, his action has damaged the reputation of the army and he will face disciplinary action.
The army has considered setting up a committee to probe the case and decide his penalty, she 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.
Pol Gen Damrongsak said the suspect must be brought in to the CCIB within seven days.
Even though the suspect is reported to be a second class army sergeant major, the national police chief stressed the hacker's supervisors would not defend his actions.
The suspect, using his pseudonym "9Near" posted on BreachForum that he held the personal data of 55 million Thais, including names, surnames, addresses, birthdates, ID card numbers and telephone numbers.
The hacker threatened to expose the information if the government agency allegedly involved in the data breach failed to meet a ransom demand last week.
Reports said the suspect's wife is a nurse who is now on the run with her partner.
Police are investigating if she had been involved in the hacking episode.
The suspect is reported to be stationed at an army unit in Nonthaburi, working as a driver for his senior. He is allegedly close to a powerful politician.