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Southeast Asia, explained

Philippines: hackers infiltrate phone system for six-cents discount

System infiltrated to cheapen long-distance calls to South Korea
Philippines phone hacking 2012 08 02Enlarge
A woman uses a Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) phone in Manila on March 1, 2011. (JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Is this the least nefarious criminal gang in the Philippines?

According to the Manila-based Inquirer, a cyber crime police unit apprehended a group of eight South Koreans living in four "hideouts" in the Philippines. Officers confiscated a trove of computers and modems -- not to mention two cars -- and charged them with hacking into Globe Telecom, a huge communications conglomerate in the Philippines.

Their motive? They weren't out to covertly shift millions into an offshore account. They weren't driven by a political agenda to stick it to the man.

They just wanted a discount on long-distance calls to South Korea.

The group somehow used their tech skills to trick the system into processing select calls to their homeland, South Korea, as local calls. This, according to an AP report, roughly halved the price of each call, which would normally cost 11 to 15 cents per minute.

So when Filipino inmates ask "What are you in for?", I suspect they'll be the only crew on the cell block with the answer, "Saving Koreans six cents per minute on long-distance calls."