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ATMs in Vietnam – “golden land” for card crime   2009-04-16 - VietNamNet/VNE

As other countries in the region and the world have turned to use cards with EMV chips, Vietnam’s ATM system with the magnetic card technology will become a “golden land” for card crime.


On April 12 in the afternoon, while withdrawing money from an East Asia Bank (EAB) ATM on Hoang Quoc Viet street in Hanoi, Giang was surprised to see a small white small box fastened to the top of the ATM. Giang immediately informed the bank.


Giang could not withdraw money at that moment due to some problems in the network. However, Giang said that she had entered her PIN code before seeing the small box, which turned out to be a camera.


Deputy General Director of EAB Tran Dao Vu said that this was a USB which had the function of a camera. The USB was installed on the ATM in such a position as to record all the operations on the key board of the ATM.


Vu said that this was just a kind of normal camera, not high-tech equipment, which allows the transferal and reception of signals at a distance.


Vu affirmed that with just the PIN code, criminals will not be able to penetrate into the accounts or make counterfeit cards if they don’t have other data. However, he suggested that all clients who made transactions at EAB’s ATM at No 100 Hoang Quoc Viet street from April 2 change their PIN codes to ensure their accounts’ safety.


However, Nguyen Thu Ha, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Card Association, affirmed that the criminal installed the camera in order to know the PIN codes of clients to steal money from their accounts.


“If the criminal is attempting to learn PIN codes, this means that they can make counterfeit cards and then use the PIN codes to withdraw money from ATMs.”


As other countries in the region and the world have turned to use cards with EMV chip, Vietnam’s ATM system with the magnetic card technology is in danger of becoming a “golden land” for card crimes.


Ha confirmed that the EMV chip card technology proves to have a higher security level than magnetic cards. However, it requires a completely new technology line, which requires higher costs and heavier investments. The production cost of a chip card is double that of a magnetic card.


That explains why only a few commercial banks have applied the new technology, including VP Bank, VIB Bank, and Vietcombank in some days.


However, Ha stressed that the risks with the local ATM system remain low and prove to be within control.


“We still cannot see fraud risks with domestic cards,” Ha said.


She went on to say that commercial banks don’t have to completely replace magnetic cards with chip cards. Instead of this, they can think of installing chips into magnetic cards, which makes the card twice as safe.


Meanwhile, experts from MK Technology Company said that upgrading the infrastructure of the ATM system and issuing EMV chip cards prove to be the most optimum solutions now to deal with card crimes.

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