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Police foil $423m cyber fraud

Posted by By Juliana Francis & Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye with Agency Report on 2005/03/20 | Views: 2575 |

Police foil $423m cyber fraud

British police have punctured a move to steal $423 million (about N5.6 billion) from a Japanese bank in London by internet thieves.

British police have punctured a move to steal $423 million (about N5.6 billion) from a Japanese bank in London by internet thieves.

The plot was uncovered, according to a Financial Times report on Thursday, just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested three secondary school students in Lagos for allegedly defrauding an Australian of over sixteen thousand Australian dollars (about N1.6 million). Five others were also arrested by the EFCC for alleged involvement in fraudulent activities.

Cyber thieves intended to transfer the $423m electronically to 10 bank accounts around the world after hacking into the computer system at Sumitomo Mitsui’s London offices. But the plot was uncovered by the British police National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) before any of the transfers took place.

The gang was reported to have accessed Sumitomo’s systems using software which captures every key stroke on a computer to gather secret information such as passwords and account numbers. It is unclear whether they had access to Sumitomo’s offices, or whether they hacked into the bank’s systems and installed the software from elsewhere. Late last year police warned financial institutions to look out for criminals using "key loggers."

On Wednesday Israeli police said they had arrested a 32-year-old man in the Tel Aviv area who had been an intended recipient of some of the money. In a statement, Israeli police said there had been an attempt to transfer $27 million into an account "by deception in a sophisticated manner."

The man was charged with money laundering and deception and remanded in custody for seven days by a Tel Aviv magistrate. Takashi Morita, head of communications at Sumitomo in Tokyo, told the UK’s Press Association that the company had not suffered any financial loss as a consequence of the robbery attempt.

He said: "The case is still in the middle of investigation so we cannot comment further. We have undertaken various measures in terms of security and we have not suffered any financial damage."
A British police spokeswoman said there had been a "failed attempted theft" but refused to give any additional details.

Meanwhile, three secondary school students are cooling their heels in EFCC detention over the 16,000 Australian dollar fraud. EFCC Director of Operations in Lagos, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde said on Thursday that the students were arrested after the case was reported by the Australian High Commission.

He said: "Kunle Ishola, 17, Ayokanmi Abiola, 20, and Hammed Biodun Shittu, 21 were arrested for credit card fraud and obtaining goods under false pretences. Abiodun Shittu in late 2004 bought life jackets and Sony Ericsson phones worth over 16,000.00 Australian Dollars from one Kevin Horsley of Leisurecat Ltd, Australia by means of stolen credit cards.

The suspect used "Hammed James" of Symbernet Nig. Ltd, 4 Jenrola Street Mafoluku, Oshodi to procure the goods."
Daily Sun gathered that Shittu had ordered for more goods from the victim, unknown to him that his activities were being monitored.

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