MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has arrested five suspects in the BDO cyberhacking incident that involved funds stolen from over 700 bank clients.
NBI officer-in-charge director Eric Distor said in a briefing on Friday, January 21, that Ifesinachi Fountain Anakwe and Chukwuemeka Peter Nwadi, both Nigerians, allegedly colluded with Filipinos Jherom Anthony Tupa, Ronelyn Panaligan, and Clay Revillosa for the heist.
They were nabbed through an entrapment operation in Mabalacat, Pampanga, last January 18. The total amount ofthe stolen funds was not disclosed at the press briefing.
The NBI said that according to their informant, the Nigerian suspects were involved in providing devices to anyone looking for options to cash out illegally obtained funds.
“These access devices range from bank accounts, crypto wallets, or even point-of-sale terminals of otherwise legitimate merchants,” the NBI said.
The NBI source said that Tupa is the alleged mastermind, who offered phishing websites to clients.
In this case, Tupa used emails to send links of phishing websites to victims.
Meanwhile, Panaligan and Revillosa are said to be web developers who were supposedly tasked to scout for vulnerabilities of bank websites.
The suspects were presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of the Prosecutor General and Department of Justice for the trafficking of unauthorized access devices and violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
In December 2021, BDO clients complained that funds were stolen from their accounts despite not clicking on any suspicious links.
The funds were then supposedly transferred to Unionbank accounts of a certain Mark Nagoyo to buy cryptocurrencies. “Nagoyo” is the Filipino word for hoodwinked.
BDO has since compensated the victims, but they were encouraged to sign a quit claim. (READ: Bangko Sentral warns banks: Treat customers fairly)
BDO has yet to issue a statement regarding the suspects’ arrest. – Rappler.com