ANOTHER case of internet fraud has been uncovered, but the provider Camnet is demanding
the victim pay the full cost - nearly $1000.
Bill Herod, adviser to Khmer Internet Development Services (KIDS), said that in the
latest case a Camnet customer has been billed for 300 hours internet time that he
Camnet acknowledges that the man most likely had his password stolen for his internet
account, which was then used by commercial operators such as internet cafes to buy
internet time which they onsold to customers. But they say that it is his responsibility
to look after his password and the company cannot be expected to pick up the tab.
Camnet spokesman Koy Kim Sea said they were prepared to arrange a monthly payment
plan and recalculate the total cost at the lowest possible rate but they could not
just cancel the debt.
"We have sympathy for him. We have changed the rate to the most advantageous
one for him," he said.
Kim Sea acknowledged the case highlighted a growing problem with stolen passwords,
particularly with the increasing number of internet cafes around Phnom Penh which
are all trying to compete on price.
Herod said the current $3 an hour standard price was very hard to maintain as a commercial
proposition, particularly if the cafes were paying market rents and fair wages. (At
least one cyber cafe charges only $2.50 an hour and gives away bananas and lollies
Herod said though the internet signal could be split between several computers it
took the sole income from one of them just to pay the connection fee while the overheads
have to come out of the rest of the computers.
He said it was possible to survive commercially if there was good turnover and a
large number of computers were being used at the same time, but for the smaller operators
he suggested it would be difficult and it could be tempting to resort to underhanded
"Honest vendors are feeling the squeeze as are the people from whom the accounts
are stolen," he said.
Meanwhile Kim Sea said Camnet was working hard to try to find a way to cut off the
He said they now required internet cafes to register and provide phone details for
their businesses. Any operator who is found using a stolen password would be cut
off and subject to financial penalties.
He said they were also looking at ways in which they could trace to a specific phone
illegal password use.
He said it was possible to have a system in which if the same password is used to
log on at two different locations simultaneously an alert was raised at Camnet, but
this was not really practical.
He said many companies have several workers using the internet at the same time quite
legitimately, which would just result in a lot of false alarms.