Police from the Ministry of Public Security have apprehended three suspects in a ring that provided apps for wiretapping and stealing cellphone data for their customers across Vietnam, according to a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper source.
Le Kim Dinh, 33, Le Duc Anh, 24, and Nguyen Van Cao, 28, were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly gaining illegal access to digital devices in order to appropriate assets.
Police are also interrogating other suspects possibly involved in the activities of the ring, which began to operate in 2012, the source said.
Dinh, Anh and Cao have been found buying apps for wiretapping and then selling them to people who want to tap other people’s cellphones and steal their data, it said.
The ring set up multiple websites to advertise their apps and seek customers.
Ring members contacted potential clients and gave them instructions on how to install apps on other people’s phones.
For using their services, each user had to pay the ring VND1.5 million (US$66.7) per month.
Once installed on a mobile phone, the wiretapping app would steal data by recording calls and collecting text messages and images.
It would then transfer all the stolen data to a server placed in a foreign country, the source said.
App buyers would be provided with an account and a secret code to access the website of the ring to read and download the stolen data.
Thousands of people across the country have bought and used the apps, according to initial investigation results.
Buyers made payment for the apps by transferring money to an account designated by the ring.
Police are continuing their investigation into the case.