Vietnam bank hacker gets seven years in jail

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A court in Ho Chi Minh City Friday sentenced a 28-year-old man to seven years in jail for hacking into the bank's computer system and stealing over VND500 million (US$23,934).

According to the hearing, in November 2007, Mekong Housing Bank's accounting department recruited Lam Nguyen Minh Tam as an information technician, and he worked there until the end of 2009.

The bank then transferred Tam to Hai Thuong Lan Ong transaction division in District 5, where he was in charge of receiving applications for automated teller machine accounts.

In September 2010, Tam quit his job, but kept five ATM cards of his customers and later used a password he set during his employment to hack the bank division's server to steal other passwords, the court heard.

On January 8, Tam acquired the passwords of an accountant and a supervisor, and hacked the branch's computing system to put VND5 billion into the ATM account of customer Vuong Boi Linh.

Later that day he transferred part of the money to other accounts and withdrew VND205 million ($9,813), according to the hearing.

The next day he transferred another VND3 billion ($143,600) and withdrew another VND320 million ($14,456) from the accounts.

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On January 12, the director of MHB Cho Lon Branch, which manages the transaction division, sent a letter to the Ministry of Public Security asking for an investigation, as the bank detected abnormal transactions among the ATM accounts. Police quickly arrested Tam after gathering sufficient evidence.

Last week HCMC People's Court also handed down a six-year-jail term to a former employee of a local information technology company for hacking MHB's system and stealing nearly VND330 million ($15,800).

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