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Two German nationals have been arrested and charged with involvement in a gang that has allegedly stolen 100 million baht by hacking into online banking systems in Europe, the US and Thailand.

German nationals Dominik Iacono, left, and Dave Ackermann appear at a news conference at the Crime Suppression Division following their arrest yesterday on charges of electronic banking fraud. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

Dominik Iacono, 22, and Dave Ackermann, 23, were arrested at the weekend in Watthana district, Crime Suppression Division (CSD) officers said.

The two were allegedly found with two Bangkok Bank passbooks, two ATM cards, two laptops, five mobile phones and a USB storage device containing bank and credit card transaction information.
Acting CSD chief Supisarn Bhakdinarinath said his officers had received a complaint from Khattiyaporn Kham-at, 44, who said she had lost about 700,000 baht after someone used her name to access her online account through internet banking.

Col Khattiyaporn said the money had disappeared from an account linked to Bangkok Bank's internet banking system.

The CSD's investigation concluded at the weekend with the arrest of the two Germans who were captured recently on a security camera withdrawing funds from an ATM in Pattaya.

Pol Col Supisarn alleged the CSD's investigation found the two were working with a Russia-based group of hackers who steal the login information and passwords of people who use online banking.
The group targets victims in Europe, the US and Thailand, he said, and has robbed victims of the equivalent of about 100 million baht this year, he said.

The gang would gain access to a victim's computer through a trojan - a virus that could possibly come from an email attachment, or a program downloaded from an unknown source - Pol Col Supisarn said.
Once the trojan was active on a victim's computer, the hackers could monitor a user's online use, including banking transactions. The hackers would then be able to access the victim's online banking account and add an additional account - one they had opened - for third-party transfers, said Siripong Timula, deputy chief of the Technological Crime Suppression Division.

After the hackers had transferred money to the third account, they would have other gang members standing by to withdraw the money from an ATM immediately before the transaction could be suspended, Pol Col Siripong said.

Kitti Khosawisut, Bangkok Bank's IT security manager, said the bank was well protected against such hacking.

In Col Khattiyaporn's case, he said, the bank's internet security system had sent her a message notifying her that a third-party account had been added to her file for transfers.

Col Khattiyaporn was asked by the system to verify and confirm the addition, Mr Kitti said.
He said it was important to distinguish that it was the victim's computer that was hacked, not the bank's.
Online banking users must be cautious when conducting any transactions online, Pol Col Siripong said.
He warned account holders against putting too much money in accounts that can be accessed online.

"If something unusual happens during an online transaction, you should stop and check for irregularities," Pol Col Siripong said.