Computer expert testifies in K945,000 ATM theft case


A COMPUTER forensic analyst hired by Zambia Police to analyze data on laptops and other electronic gadgets seized from three Bulgarians accused of stealing K945, 000 from automated teller machines (ATMs) in Zambia, told the court that the suspects used foreign ATM gadgets to capture magnetic card details.

Barend Jakobus Labuschagne,  director of Computer Forensics Lab in South Africa, told the court that being an expert in computer crimes whose duties included  inspecting information on electronic devices and computer crimes operations, among others, told the court that on December 18, 2013, he was hired by the Zambia Police Service to assist them detect information which was in the three laptops, three mobile phones, a digital camera, a flash drive, a memory card, three sim cards and two high tech skimming devices.

Mr Labuschagne said according to his findings he detected different application files and different programmes which were used to commit the alleged crimes.

He said he also found some voice recordings captured during the suspects’ operations on different ATM machines.

Mr Labuschagne added that he also found text files which contained magnetic card-related data with pin numbers that were added to the specific card data, adding that some of the text files contained dates and time with pin numbers.

He added that from the Skype data, it was clear that the users of the computers forwarded text files and card reader extraction data which contained track data and pin images to other users.

Mr Labuschagne said although the skimming devices could not be decrypted, it was evident they contained data and that the devices were primarily built to be used on ATM devices to capture magnetic card details. He further disclosed that the majority of the requested card details could only be found on the HP laptop as the rest of the devices did not contain any of the requested card details.

This is in a case in which three Bulgarians – Milko Stayanova Ketstadinov, 44, Hrito Ivanovdon Kov, 39, and Hassan Alwe Al Batti, 29, are charged with unauthorized access of intercepting data contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

The three are in count one alleged to have, whilst acting together without authority or permission, intentionally accessed or intercepted data by planting a gadget on the ATM belonging to Barclays Bank Zambia.  In count two, the trio had in their possession devices for capturing data, namely foreign ATM gadgets, which are designed primarily to overcome security measures for the protection of data.

It is alleged in count three that the trio between November 7, 2013 and December 11, 2013 jointly and whilst acting together did steal K945, 485.97 from Barclays Bank Zambia.

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