Thailand’s Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) officers have arrested two men who allegedly hacked into the computer system of the Land Transport Department (LTD), using an official’s username and password, to change the registration information of unused cars and then to apply for new licenses for mostly vintage or smuggled cars for sale to specific groups of customers.
Police have also seized 16 cars, many of them vintage, issued with new licenses which were obtained from the LTD using false information.
LTD Director-General Chirut Wisalchit said that officials had discovered that the car registration system was hacked last year and sought help from CCIB police to track down those responsible.
The two alleged hackers, “Sathien” and “Srisorn”, had both worked as car registration free lancers at the LTD for about 20 years and could have obtained the username and password from one of the seven officials who have access to the system, said a CCIB police officer, Pol Col Suwatchai Srithongsuk.
After the information on a car, such as the engine, VIN and chassis numbers, in the computer system were changed to match a smuggled vehicle, the two suspects would apply for a new car registration from the department, claiming that the old one had been lost.
He claimed that each hacked car registration was worth more than a million baht when it was issued for a smuggled luxury or vintage car. He said that the information on 65 cars in the department’s database has been changed by the suspects.
The LTD chief said that, normally, the usernames and passwords of the seven officials who have access to the database are changed every three months, adding that, after the hacking was detected, security on the computer system has been increased.
According to the CCIB, this counterfeit registration gang was divided into three groups, responsible different functions.
The first group is responsible for hacking into the computer system to change information. The second is tasked with looking for smuggled cars of models which match with the information in system and then change their engine and chassis numbers. The third group smuggle cars which cannot be legally registered and need vehicle registrations.
Source: Thai PBS World