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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project