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​Kingdom, India explore new tactics against online crimes | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Cambodia and India are exploring new cooperative mechanisms that will allow them to exchange information on suspected online scam networks. India has already committed to extending the existing training programmes it offers to Cambodian officials, but analysts have applauded the planned expansion of collaboration between the two.

The Indian embassy in Phnom Penh confirmed to The Post that so far nearly 100 Ministry of Interior officials have received training, in various skills and at various locations.

“India will continue to train Cambodian police officers and other government officials in the areas of cybercrime and counter-terrorism, though our flagship capacity building programme of Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC),” said the embassy.

During a mid-January meeting with Indian ambassador Devyani Khobragade, National Police chief Sar Thet highlighted the National Police’s efforts to combat cross-border offences and cybercrimes.

Thet urged the Indian side to consider the possibility of establishing an intelligence-sharing mechanism to provide information on suspicious individuals or networks, so timely, measured responses can be employed.

At the time, an embassy statement warned that both Cambodians and Indians had fallen victim to online scams, so intelligence-sharing was a logical step in the fight against cybercrime.

The embassy confirmed to The Post that the proposal was in the initial stage, and both countries would discuss how they could move forward.

“Constant training is essential in the fight against online scams, because the perpetrators are always making use of new technologies. Therefore, the police also have to keep abreast of changing technologies,” it added.

Reputational damage

Thong Mengdavid, research supervisor at the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), told The Post that the improved cooperation was an indicator of the excellent relations between the two countries.

He warned that the issue of online fraud and a few cases of kidnapping in recent years has become a social issue that is causing social instability, and also tarnishing Cambodia’s image internationally.

“Cambodia needs to continue to expand its public awareness campaigns, which warn the people about the different kinds of scams that are occurring, while educating people in how they can avoid becoming victims. India should increase the provision of technical assistance and capacity building to the National Police, so that they can target cybercrimes more effectively and put preventative measures in place,” he said.

Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, told The Post that by strengthening the capacity of Cambodian officials to combat cybercrime, India is employing soft power in a way that benefits both countries. He explained that this is an example of India’s “Act East Policy”, which aims to develop foreign influence across the region.

“India will be applauded for its part in the fight against cybercrime, which is an issue that the Cambodian government needs to address. It must take action to eliminate such crimes in order to gain the trust of the public, business people and international tourists, as well as to attract foreign investment to Cambodia,” he said.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, supported the cooperation. He explained that online fraud appears to be spreading, and warned that it could damage Cambodian society, as well as friendly countries’ willingness to cooperate with the Kingdom. He was also deeply concerned about its effect on Cambodia’s image on the international stage.

“If cybercrimes take place on our territory, then our territory could be seen as a place of fraud. People are afraid of fraud; thus, they will be wary of visiting Cambodia, whether for investment or tourism. This is an issue that we must confront, and India can help strengthen this work. It is a positive example of bilateral cooperation, and strengthens the abilities of our officials,” he said.

Police action

The interior ministry’s Anti-Cybercrime Department regularly issue warnings about specific scams, as well as broader advice on red-flags and suspicious emails and links.

On January 25, it warned people about QR code phishing or “quishing” scams, where a fake QR code is used to impersonate a payee, or trick people into downloading malicious software, or “malware”.

For security reasons, the department advised the public to verify the source of a QR code before scanning it, especially if it is used to make a payment, or download software or an application.

It has also issued messages which warned the public to be wary of social media posts which promised prizes, or of sharing personal details for a chance to win suspiciously valuable rewards.

The department urged people to avoid sending or receiving money from unclear sources.

On January 13, the department arrested a man who was accused of being a co-conspirator in a Telegram scam which claimed multiple victims.

A police report explained that the scam was committed under the guise of a lucrative return on investment, and used the Telegram social network as a means of transferring money through various Cambodian bank accounts. 

Officers are still searching for the other alleged members of the scam gang.

The department called on the public to share its advice as widely as possible, in order to better protect the digital security of all members of society.



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