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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Cyber crooks target gamers; E-gambling dens menace, raid in Penang, etc

Cyber crooks target gamers


SERI KEMBANGAN: Cyber crooks have now set up fake gaming sites to steal information from Internet surfers.

They are also stealing personal information from online gamers and selling virtual gaming items like weapons to other players.

Cybersecurity Malaysia, which is an agency under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, said cyber criminals were targeting gaming websites and had spread their wings to Malaysia, with five cases reported so far.

“Gaming websites have already become a lucrative business for cyber criminals in South Korea and China,” said Cybersecurity Malaysia vice-president (cyber security responsive services) Adli Abd Wahid.

Gamers are spending more money on online gaming, purchasing battle tanks', avatars' and other virtual gadgets and tools needed to advance to higher levels of a certain online game.

“Cyber crooks can steal the usernames and passwords of users who have advanced to a certain level in a game, and sell the account to buyers who want to continue playing the game from that level.”

Adli said that since many gamers preferred not to waste time starting from the lowest levels, they were willing to buy from cyber crooks.

The crooks could also steal the virtual weapons and gadgets from compromised accounts and sell them to other players.

Adli estimated that 99% of phishing websites targeting Malaysians were created and operated overseas, with foreign syndicates often hiring locals as “money mules” to transfer stolen money to foreign bank accounts.

The number of phishing sites detected in Malaysia rose from 634 cases in 2009 to 1,426 reports that were lodged last year.

IDC Market Research (M) Sdn Bhd associate analyst Devtar Singh said there were currently an estimated 7.3 million online gamers in Malaysia.

International anti-phishing service provider Internet Identity (IID) reported that the attacks were expected to rise with the global online gaming industry generating over US$15bil (RM44bil) annually, making it a strong target for criminals.

Residents: End the game for e-gambling dens


PETALING JAYA: Action must be taken against operators of e-gambling dens because addiction to gambling is making families suffer, said Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Heng Seai Kie.

Her ministry had received numerous complaints from women, especially mothers and wives, on the negative impact caused by such gambling dens.

They complained how family members had became addicted to gambling due to the existence of these premises near their homes.

Heng said the mothers complained that their children’s studies were badly affected by the addiction to gambling.

“The wives also told us that their husbands frequent such premises and lose their earnings at the cyber casinos,” she said.

Heng said she had received feedback that the number of illegal casinos were mushrooming in the Klang Valley, especially Selangor.

She urged the state government to act against this illegal activity.

Meanwhile, resident associations (RA) called for sterner action against the cyber casinos.

Aman Suria RA pro-tem chairman Wendy Chan said the lack of consistency among the local authorities had led to the mushrooming of the illegal cyber casinos.

While acknowledging the authorities did take action against the illegal e-gambling dens, Chan said their actions were not effective.

“The best way is for the local authorities to closely monitor and carry out regular checks.’’

Damansara Jaya RA president Datuk Hew Cheng Hoe said it was impossible for the residents associations to act on the complaints against the illegal activity.

“I believe the authorities will do the necessary to stop the illegal operators,’’ he said.

Bandar Country Homes RA president Soong Beng Khoon said the authorities should also go after those who supplied equipment to these illegal gambling centres.

He added that these casinos were popular as they were strategically located in residential areas.

Taman Rawang Perdana 2 RA chairman Ong Siew Hong said there were many cybercafes in his area and some youngsters, who initially played for fun, eventually become addicted.

“This has become a social problem and the authorities must view it seriously.”

 E-gambling menace


Under control: A police officer securing the area during a raid on gambling dens in Gombak, Selangor.

KUALA LUMPUR: Many people, including schoolchildren, are losing millions of ringgit monthly at e-gambling dens.

The cyber casinos attract customers by offering a variety of gambling games from mahjong and roulette to virtual slot machines.

The premises are sparsely furnished. Rows of computers line the space and customers are seen glued to the screens.

Bets start from as low as 25sen to as high as the participant wants. There have been cases where players bet thousands of ringgit for one hand of Blackjack.

EO for cyber crooks
PETALING JAYA: The Emergency Ordinance (EO) will be used against operators of illegal cyber casinos who have been raking in millions of ringgit monthly.

The police, however, face a setback because the gaming servers are located overseas, making it difficult to nab the culprits.

Other developments:

> The Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Cybercafe Owners Association has come up with an integrated approach to rebrand the industry and educate members;

> Selangor Government slammed over inaction against such operators; and

> Habitual gamblers say they are attracted by the low bets offered.

13 held in Penang after cyber raid


GEORGE TOWN: Police have detained 13 caretakers and workers of cybercafes which are believed to be fronts for illegal online gambling.

During an operation code-named Ops Dadu, the police also seized 128 computer sets from 13 cybercafes throughout the state.

State CID chief Senior Asst Comm (SAC) Zahruddin Abdullah said the 13, mostly caretakers in their 20s and 30s, were nabbed during a five-hour operation which ended at 1am.

Gambling gadgets: George Town CID chief Deputy Supt Shahurinain Jais showing some of the seized items at Datuk Keramat police station in Penang Thursday. Aug 4, 2011
Most such premises were found in central Seberang Prai and George Town districts.

SAC Zahruddin said police had intensified their raids on online gambling dens with 4,440 computers and gambling machines seized in the first six months of this year.

He added that 1,150 raids were also carried out with 440 arrests made.

“The statistics show the number of raids, arrests and seizures have increased tremendously compared with last year and 2009.

“Constant raids have been carried out but the problems still persist. We will continue with our efforts,” he said during a press conference at the state police headquarters here yesterday.

Police made 759 and 434 arrests in 2009 and last year respectively.

They had carried out 1,045 raids in 2009 and 1,339 last year.

SAC Zahruddin said there were hundreds of cyber cafes in Penang with a large number being run without licences from local authorities.

He added that many operators were also caught abusing licences obtained from local authorities by running online gambling in their premises.

“We have problems tracking down the masterminds as most of the time those who look after the premises are foreigners.

“The operators have hi-tech tools. With only the press of a button, computers in the premises will be switched off.

“This makes it even harder for us to establish a case against them.”

When contacted, Penang municipal councillor Iszuree Ibrahim said cybercafe operators who run online gambling activities had never applied for licences from the Penang Municipal Council.

He said only 17 out of hundreds of cybercafe operators on the island were given licences.

“We are only able to issue summonses to the perpetrators but this will not deter them from carrying out such activities at their premises as they are raking in millions of ringgit annually.”

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