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Vietnam police warn of smartphone spyware launched by scammers

Monday, December 07, 2020, 21:10 GMT+7
Vietnam police warn of smartphone spyware launched by scammers
A spyware app named ‘Bo Cong An’ is created by scammers to steal victims’ information and appropriate their property. Photo: Ministry of Public Security

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has warned of a spyware app that is capable of stealing important information from Android phone users and appropriating their property.

The application, named ‘Bo Cong An’ (Ministry of Public Security), was created as a tool for scammers to collect their victims’ personal information and ultimately steal their money.

The criminals used the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to make fake phone numbers similar to those of law enforcement agencies, which usually start with +0096 and +884.

They contacted their victims and said that they had been involved in an investigation, and that they would be arrested and charged if they refused to cooperate.

The victims were then required to declare their assets and install the ‘Bo Cong An’ app on their Android smartphones.

They were instructed to provide such important information as their full names, ID numbers, and bank account numbers, usernames, and passwords on this app.

All of the collected information was transferred to a server managed by these scammers.

Using the app, scammers can secretly monitor their victims’ text messages and call history.

They can even control the victims’ phones, compose and send SMS messages, unlock the devices, turn the Internet on and off, access Wi-Fi, check contacts and call history, and make phone calls.

As a result, the scammers are able to change the passwords used by their victims in Internet banking or smart banking services, collect OTP numbers, and wire all of their money to a foreign account.

Police investigation revealed that the criminals had appropriated hundreds of billions of dong (VND100 billion = US$4.3 million) from many people across Vietnam.

The Ministry of Public Security advised those who had already installed the app on their smartphones to promptly inform their banks and report to local police units.

People are also advised against accessing suspicious news sites or installing software or applications from unofficial sources.

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