Why is Nepal the easy target to cash out for International hacker???

Card skimmer in Nepal

Petroslav Hristov with the stolen cash.

Kathmandu- Nepal, International hacker are targeting  Nepal to cash out from clone credit card . Due to the lack of information technology growth in Nepal, old version software are used in the ATM with WINDOWS-XP (outdated software from Microsoft)

Recently, Police have arrested a Bulgarian national with Rs 12 million allegedly stolen using fake ATM cards in the capital. The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of the Nepal Police nabbed Bulgarian national Petroslav Hristov with the stolen cash from Tridevimarga, Temple Tiger Apartment today.

Police have confiscated Rs 12,008,744 including USD 40,000 and Euro 47,200.

Similarly, police have also seized as many as 179 master cards with pin numbers, a magnetic card reader, laptop and mobile sets.

According to police, Hristov had been stealing money from ATM machines located in various places including Durbar Marga, Thamel through hacking ATM pin numbers. Hristov used to send the stolen currency to his country after exchanging it into USD and Euro, said police.

Police started chasing down 42-year-old Bulgarian man after suspicious activities were detected at the Thamel ATM machines. Police launched a manhunt based on the CCTV footage of Thamel ATM machines, but not all ATM webcam are configured properly and it had to be lucky every time.

In previous case Police arrested a foreigner on charge of using fake ATM cards to steal money from different Nepali banks.

Mehmat Gulen, a Turkish national, was found to have stolen data using card skimmer device and clone ATM cards to withdraw money from various banks in Nepal, India and Thailand. In Nepal, Gulen had used fake Master Card, Visa debit and credit cards to sweep away Rs2.6 million and $5,000 from ATM booths of Apex Development, Himalayan and Standard Chartered banks.

A team from Nepal Police’s Central Investigation Bureau arrested Gulen from Durbarmarg, Hotel Woodland where he had checked-in on November 15. Police said Gulen, who arrived in Nepal on November 13, had visited Thailand, Qatar and India.

He is learnt to have stolen numerous data and pin numbers from cards used at petrol pumps and shopping centers. He would then use computer software to clone ATM cards with the help of a magnetic strip reader/writer to swindle millions from various accounts.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Bhim Dahal of CIB said Gulen, who had acquired over 100 such vital data, was planning to withdraw Rs 5 million and flee the country. “He is a spendthrift. He has bought expensive cameras and mobile phones, and was traveling first class to various countries,” said DSP Dahal.

Tipped off by the banks of suspicious transactions in Kathmandu, a police team kept tap on Gulen’s activities which eventually led to his arrest. According to police, sophisticated hackers such as

Gulen attach devices like hidden cameras or fake ATM keypad to the ATM machines to sim the pin number. They would then use the data to clone the cards. Police have seized a laptop, mini magnetic strip reader/writer and numerous ATM cards and mileage cards of Qatar National Bank, Shell Club Smart, PTT Kart, Miles and Smiles of Qatar Airlines, among others.

Superintendent of Police Pitamber Adhikari, spokesperson for the CIB, said Gulen had been withdrawing small amounts at a time to avoid any suspicion of illegal transactions. “These people would initially withdraw small amounts to gauge the extent of the account holder’s available balance or line of credit and to detect the presence of security alert levels,” said Adhikari.

A year ago, the CIB had arrested three Nepalis for stealing money using similar methods. One of the accused was arrested from Saleways Department Store in Lalitpur while using a bogus ATM card on its point of sale machine.

Since hackers are using sophisticated tools, SP Adhikari said, it is high time that the banks upgraded their system to ensure safe transactions. “If you think your card has been compromised, call your bank. Then call police.”

These are only few cases that is on the news, there are more then hundred case of fraud and many of the are still unsolved. Now with the increase in use of  information technology side by side  security issue also arise with it like social identity theft , online fraud, social engineering to leak information,hacking etc . As many of the bank, have not invested enough manpower and time in Information Security though it the most valuable assist,  this type of event will increase day by day now is the  time to  think what we doing to prevent it .

 

 

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