Police question 19 over hi-tech online banking fraud

Hi-tech crime police were today questioning 19 people suspected of orchestrating a multimillion-pound attack on British bank accounts.







Up to £6 million has been taken from online accounts in just three months by a gang of computer hackers.



They used a virus known as "zeus" to infect computers and capture the passwords and other sensitive details of banking customers.



Their money was then transferred into bogus accounts created by the crooks to help them launder the profits.



Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson, of the Metropolitan Police, said the amount of money stolen is likely to "increase considerably" as the investigation continues.



He said: "We believe we have disrupted a highly organised criminal network, which has used sophisticated methods to siphon large amounts of cash from many innocent peoples' accounts, causing immense personal anxiety and significant financial harm - which of course banks have had to repay at considerable cost to the economy.



"Online banking customers must make sure their security systems are up to date and be alert to any unusual or additional security features requested which is at variance with their normal log-on experience.



"Greater public awareness and education will make it harder for personal details to be compromised and for this type of fraud to be carried out."



Officers from the Met's Central E-Crime Unit arrested 15 men and four women aged between 23 and 47 at addresses across London in dawn raids yesterday.



They were questioned on suspicion of fraud, offences under the Computer Misuse Act and money laundering.



Two of those held were also arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm.



Experts believe thousands of computers have been infected with malicious computer codes including zeus.



It is a "trojan" virus that hides on machines, bypassing security software before capturing and transmitting log-on information, passwords and other data.



Last year £59.7 million was lost to online banking fraud, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Another £440 million was lost to credit card fraud.



Online banking customers can protect themselves by keeping their anti-virus software up to date and setting fire walls to the highest level.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor