Singapore Police have arrested 13 young people as suspects in several recent malware scams related to banking transactions. The arrests came in a nationwide operation that was conducted from August 14 to 25. Details have just been released by the police.
The suspects are in the age bracket of 15-25 years, and their arrests were carried out by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and Police Intelligence Department (PID).
Complaints of malware have been coming to the police since the beginning of this year. According to the information released, the malware infected Singapore victims’ phones and then money was siphoned out of their bank accounts, taking advantage of the fact that most people use their mobile phones for banking transactions these days.
The malware was installed on the phones by duping the victims through fake adverts of a range of products and services. These ads targeted the victims mostly through social networks.
However, clicking on the adverts alone did not result in the victims’ devices becoming infected. The real damage happened when the victims followed instructions to download some software from a non-official app store, in order to purchase the products and services. That is when the fraudsters could instal the malware.
These victims were also contacted by the scammers through voice call and text messages, and were asked to do certain things that further compromised their device security.
Once all of this was done, the scammers could remotely log the victims’ keystrokes on the phone’s keypad and they could steal all the banking credentials necessary to siphon money from bank accounts.
If convicted, the suspects face imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine of up to SGD500,000, or both.