A high-stakes Macau gambler is none too happy, after a local casino’s cyber VIP room accounts were hacked, with 3 million Hong Kong dollars ($387,000 U.S.) of his online funds being pilfered by the perpetrators.
Macau Judicial Police have now arrested two computer programmers, both just 20 years old, in connection with the cyber-attack; they are thought to be part of a larger criminal gang.
Details of the exact casino targeted are yet to be released, but the Judiciary Police stated at a press conference that the police received a call from employees of a casino on Avenida da Amizade. They reported that their VIP computer system had been hacked, and that the deposits of one of its high-roller customer accounts had been stolen.
Apparently, the casino in question used a system whereby customers provide personal information, such as a contact number, to the VIP room when funds are deposited into their account. If they entrust a third party to withdraw the funds for them, then the third party must verify that they are authorized to carry out the transaction using that contact number, which the thieves supplied to accomplish their crime.
The sneaky gang of thieves reportedly hacked into the system of the VIP room, and altered the contact number on the account of the unsuspecting high-roller. The perpetrators then made an appearance at the casino stating that they had the authority to withdraw the funds. In order to verify this, the employee then used the number registered on the system, which by this point had been changed, to get in touch with an accomplice (posing as the high roller), and got the go-ahead to hand over the money.
The employees of the casino were said to have no way of learning that the hackers had made their way into the VIP system and changed the number on the account, and the police were quick to act with a forensic check of the casino’s technology in order to prevent further high-rollers’ cash falling into the hands of the opportunistic wrongdoers.
Two of the perps involved in the crime have been identified by the authorities; police are still pursuing more suspects in the case, however. The two suspects were reportedly apprehended while entering Macau via the Barrier Gate checkpoint.
Now, the two young computer programmers are set to face the Public Prosecution Office to defend themselves against charges, which include membership in a criminal organization, illegally accessing a computer system, altering data, and of course, theft.