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Hacker mafia targets credit card holders ‘Do not use unsecured computers for business’

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 17: The security officials in Kuwait have warned against the danger of using unsecured computers when completing financial transactions through credit cards.

This came in a seminar organized recently by the Institute of Security Leadership for Studies and National Training at Kuwait University, Faculty of Women in Adailiyah under the slogan ‘Cyber Crime and its Effects on the Society’. Speakers at the seminar included Head of Security Leadership Institute Lieutenant General (Retired) Musaed Al-Ghuweinim, former Director of Ahmadi Criminal Investigation Department Retired Colonel Dawud Al-Kandari, Colonel Rabee Al-Mutairi and Head of Cyber Crime Department Major Tareq Al-Khudar.

The officials said there are networks of hackers who steal from unsuspecting credit card holders by picking-up credit card and secret pin numbers, adding that these networks plant electronic virus in computers so they can steal information like bank accounts. Al-Ghuweinim explained stealing bank accounts is no longer a complex matter due to networks used by hackers to steal from bank accounts and credit cards in various ways - the most common of which is enticing the youths to enter pornographic websites and then the computers they use get affected with a virus to open them for any kind of hacking, especially when the adults use the infected computers to complete their financial transactions.

Meanwhile, Al-Kandari pointed out cyber crimes have become prevalent since the beginning of the new millennium, adding that local and international financial institutions use advanced and sophisticated means to ensure the privacy of bank information, but these means are not enough to monitor the use of computers which get hacked for the purpose of stealing.

Al-Kandari also affirmed that gangs have been targeting Kuwait and other Gulf states. He revealed the modus operandi of these gangs who enter the GCC countries on visit visas, use fake credit cards to buy goods from major commercial centers and then smuggle these goods to another nation. He said most of the gangs targeting the Gulf countries come from Europe and East Asia; hence, the need for employees in major shops to be vigilant and to report to the Ministry of Interior any unusual and expensive purchases made by foreigners to ease procedures for tracking down these criminals. He added the owners of major shops have been very cooperative in the process of arresting these gangs.

Al-Mutairi disclosed some gangs deceive gullible people by claiming they can earn quick money or they want to exchange foreign currency with local money at a rate lower than the market, but most of the bills are acquired through illegal transactions, such as peddling drugs; so those with weak souls are usually the victims of swindling and theft.

In the same context, Al-Khudar stressed Kuwait is keen on tracking down cyber criminals; and this has resulted in the establishment of a special cyber crime unit to deal with swindling and theft cases. He admitted arresting cyber criminals is not an easy job.

Al-Khudar confirmed the international community has been exerting tremendous efforts to combat cyber crimes. He also emphasized the need to keep credit cards in a safe place, avoid writing secret pin numbers on the card or inside the wallet, and do not enter secret pins publicly in commercial and shopping centers.


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