Vietcombank account holder losses $23,000 in one night

VietNamNet Bridge – A woman named Huong in Hanoi has discovered that VND500 million (nearly $25,000) in her account at the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) was transferred somewhere over night.




The case attracted public attention as it occurred at a time when agencies in Vietnam and banks in particular were on high alert after the cyberattack on Vietnam Airlines system early this month. 

Reportedly, seven transactions were made on August 4-5, totaling VND500 million. The account owner said she only received a text message and an email informing of the change of balance in her account on the morning of August 6, without the OTP message as usual.

At the time the transfers were conducted, the account owner was sleeping at home and the ATM card was in her wallet.

Initial investigation of Vietcombank showed that hackers got information of the account holder via a fake link, after Huong accessed the site with her smartphone. The hacker then installed and activated the Smart OTP service on the smartphone of Ms. Huong and performed the money transfer. That is why Huong did not receive text messages about the OTP code on her phone.

Vietcombank returned VND300 million ($15,000) to Huong’s account, which was transferred to three banks in Vietnam. The remaining VND200 million had been withdrawn by hackers at ATMs in Malaysia.

Before Huong’s case was made public by Vietcombank, many Vietcombank clients said Smart OTP services on their mobile devices and smartphone and Internet Banking accounts of those who used the Smart OTP services had been set on unregistered status.

OTP (One Time Password) is granted to customers who register to use online services, in addition to a fixed password to log into their account.

Many customers are now very worried about the security systems of banks. Some customers said they would temporarily withdraw money from their accounts.

Vietcombank on August 16 announced on its official website changes to activation methods of smart OTP services.

Accordingly, customers who have already used smart OTP and wish to continue using the services on their existing devices must re-activate the service via Vietcombank's Internet banking service.

Those who have not registered for smart OTP services or those wanting to change their devices, will have to go to Vietcombank branches to register and get the service activated.

OTP subscribers are encouraged to download the latest smart OTP application from Google Play Store and Apple Store.

Further investigations are ongoing.

Banks also urged customers to be alert against cyber-attacks. 

Linh Nhat

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