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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Billions were made through hacking myIMMs

Immigration director-general says a breached system can compromise national security

PETALING JAYA: By hacking the Malaysian Immigration System (myIMMs), illegal syndicates have made billions of ringgit since 2010, said Immigration Department director-general Sakib Kusmi.

According to The Star Online, he said syndicates could have used myIMMS to facilitate human trafficking and assist suspected terrorists travel throughout the country.

This could imply that national security had been compromised, said Sakib.

Citing a source in the department, the report said the hacking had allowed many blacklisted foreigners to enter the country, as glitches in the system had hampered its officers’ efforts to scan the details of travellers.

The system contained vital details of foreigners such as their biometric data, work permits and visa details.

“In most cases, we rely on the little information that’s available in real-time and allow the foreigners to enter,” he said.

Sakib explained that the hacking was usually carried out with “inside help”, where syndicates and agents, who were mainly based abroad, were known to give instructions to corrupt officers.

“When these people gain access to the system, they can look into many of our files and even approve or reject any application.

“They can also see all the other IDs (used by Immigration personnel to log in) and even create their own IDs.” he said.

Sakib said the department’s intelligence team had been monitoring the matter since 2010, and added that “the activities were not very serious back then.”

“It became worse in 2014 and 2015 when it involved issues of national security and caused the government to incur losses in the millions.”

He also said some immigration officers might think lightly about keeping the ID secure, being unaware that it could be used by certain quarters to hack into the system.

“To me, there is no system that is 100% perfect. The deficiencies that I noticed in the early stages were in the management of the IDs.”

Sakib said he regretted not getting accurate information on the ID issue.

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