Illegal digital data trading detected

The Department of Cyber Security and Hi-tech Crime Prevention, Ministry of Public Security (A05) yesterday announced the result of its fight against a group of people illegally selling confidential digital data of Vietnamese people.

The police are inspecting the location where criminals carry out their illegal activities.

A05 reported that the criminals sell many data packages that contain sensitive information like the lists of state officers in ministries and economic groups, nationwide electricity customers; the lists of mobile phone and Internet subscribers of all network carriers; related data of loaning and saving accounts in banks; business registration documents; the lists of parents and students; the lists of customers in various fields of real estates, automobile, stock market, insurance, spa, home appliances.

Valuable data like date of birth, citizen ID card number, home address, phone number, bank account, work position are included in those packages, which are guaranteed by the criminals to be precise and updated directly from the original sources.

These illegal information packages are publicly sold on popular social networks such as Facebook, Zalo, Telegram, or the specific forum for hackers named

Receiving the request from the Ministry of Public Securiy, at the end of January 2021, A05 cooperated with the local police in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Thanh Hoa, Long An, Dong Nai to unexpectedly inspect 7 suspected locations. 15 people were caught red handed carrying out illegal digital information trading.

After collecting valid evidences, on May 4, the Office of Investigation Police Agency, Ministry of Public Security (C01) decided to prosecute Du Anh Quy (born in 1988 and staying in Hanoi at the moment) and imprison him for 3 months, to prosecute Lai Thi Phuong (Director of VNIT TECH Co., born in 1992 and staying in Hai Duong Province) and prohibit her from leaving her residence location.

They are accused of illegally delivering or using information on computer networks or telecoms networks. In particular, they have posted an ad for the trade of nearly 1,300GB of confidential data as listed above, which are collected from various sources using diverse methods, taking advantage of the network administrator power.

Preliminary investigation reveals that many individuals and businesses (insurance enterprises, language learning centers, real estate agencies) have purchased these data for their own purposes.

There are also signals of irresponsibility and loose customer information management from businesses as they themselves did not detect or report this data stealing action to the police. Some even intentionally sell these kinds of confidential information to the criminals for illicit profits.

A05 continues work with the local police forces to search for more criminals related to the captured ones and bring them to justice.

Since 2019, A05 have successfully solved many cases of illegal information collection to create data packages to sell for advertising or customer care purposes, leading to an annoying state of spam calls recently.

They have detected and erased 3 large systems and 20 websites of such trading, protecting the confidentiality of around 500 million pieces of personal information of social network users in Vietnam.

They have also identified and stopped 4 systems to trade nearly 141GB of data related to mobile phone number of 3G and 4G subscribers.