Nine cyber criminals responsible for attacks on UK banks have been handed prison sentences totaling 24 years, having been convicted of scams that raked in more than £1m from Barclays and Santander branches.
The crooks used a device known as a Keyboard, Video, Mouse (KVM) (pictured) to hack into system at branches in London and then transfer money into mule accounts, before wiring it on again in an effort to stop it being traced.
The first incident occurred at a Barclays branch in Swiss Cottage on 4 April 2013, where £1.25m was stolen over the course of 128 transfers made via the KVM device. Barclays became aware of the theft and alerted the police. It also managed to recover £600,000 of the money taken.
The second incident occurred at another Barclays in Lewisham on 17 July 2013. In this instance £90,000 was stolen. Barclays again informed the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), who were able to recover the KVM unit in use.
Finally, the gang struck again at a Santander bank in Surrey Quays on 12 September 2013, where they attempted to access the bank’s IT systems via another KVM machine.
The police did not say how much was taken in this instance but instead noted that during the raid they attempted to "transfer what police believe would have been substantial funds".
The MPS Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) led the case and arrested those involved in the incidents last year. On Thursday they were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.
One member of the gang, Lanre Mullins-Abudu, received an eight-year sentence, the longest issued, while another, Steven Hannah, received a sentence of five years and 10 months. Tony Colston-Hayter was also involved and received a five-and-a-half-year sentence. The other sentences varied from three years to six months.
DCI Jason Tunn, of the MPS Cyber Crime Unit, said the convictions were a great result for the force and proved that the police were more than able to tackle those involved in complex cyber crimes.
“Today’s convictions are the culmination of a long and highly complex investigation into an organised crime group whose aim was to steal millions of pounds from London banks and credit card companies,” he said.
“Through working with industry partners such as Santander and Barclays, whose efforts in assisting us were immense, we have been able to bring this group to justice.
"This case demonstrates the sheer investigative skill we are able to apply to tackling cybercrime, as we continue working to keep London people and businesses safe from cyber criminals.”
The convictions come as banks grapple with security headaches caused by the end of Windows XP, with Lloyds recently upgrading 1,200 machines to Windows 7 in order to try and avoid the risks this poses.
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