24hrs on, police clueless about mastermind of high-tech ATM loots

Bhubaneswar: Even if 24 hours have passed after the arrest of a hacker of an inter-state ATM loot gang, the Commissionerate Police is yet to get a clue about the mastermind of the high-tech robberies.

Police sources said, special teams have been formed to trace the mastermind and two others involved in the cyber crime.

On Sunday, police arrested Ajay Chaudhury, a native of Rudrapur in Uttarakhand and a key member of the gang which was involved in at least six ATM thefts by hacking into the software of the machines. Chaudhury was involved in two similar cases of high-tech ATM thefts in Bengaluru and Lucknow in 2014 and 2016 respectively, police said.

In the spate of thefts in Odisha in which over Rs 40 lakh was looted from ATMs in four districts, Chaudhury and one of his accomplices were stationed at the site of the crime, while two others operated from a remote location.

The Twin City police have seized six bank accounts with deposits of Rs 8 lakh, a bank locker, a high-end laptop, a hard drive and three mobile phones from Chaudhury.

Police said the banks must upgrade their security systems to deal with such incidents.

“We discussed (with the banks) that there is a need for upgradation of software and also having proper firewall. Besides, the service providers also need to take a call how they are going to deal with it,” said Police Commissioner YB Khurania.

But what has bothered the police that the robbers didn’t use mobile phones while committing the crime.

“In these cases, the thieves didn’t use mobile phones as they were communicating through an app. The culprits were using a Chinese malware for the purpose. They first install it into the system through the USB port and then they reboot it,” Khurania added.