Thai Nguyen University where the four were studying. Photo: Google Maps

Four university students in Vietnam were arrested last month and charged with carrying out cyber attacks to steal money.

On May 31, the Ministry of Public Security said a group using high-tech methods had stolen money from intermediary payment services and e-wallets, Viet Nam News reported.

The suspects were identified as 24-year-old Do Van Phi, Nguyen Thi Anh, Nguyen Thi Bao Thoa and Do Tuan Anh, all 23. They are all students at the Thai Nguyen University.

Cash and savings books worth more than 3 billion Dong (US$130,000), 30 ATM cards, six computers, several phones with burner SIM cards and other papers were seized by authorities.

Do Tuan Anh was labelled the mastermind after the group confessed to their crimes. He said he had found holes in the security of the databases used by many companies and had been breaking into websites since 2013.

His group was able to gain control of the administrative accounts on the websites and added fake balances to accounts they had created beforehand. They then switched the money around elaborately and finally transferred the stolen funds to their bank accounts under the names of other people.

In addition, Do had also hired hackers overseas to find security loopholes to steal data. The hackers had taken over the databases of five companies from September 2018 to April 2019 and stole information worth about 5 billion Dong (US$214,000.)

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