LONDON, Sept 20 British police said on Friday
they had arrested eight people including the suspected
mastermind of a cyber-theft in which criminals infiltrated the
computer system of a branch of Barclays bank and stole
1.3 million pounds ($2.1 million).
Last week police arrested 12 men allegedly planning to steal
millions of pounds from a London branch of Santander UK
with the same device - a "keyboard, video and mouse" (KVM) that
allows legitimate workers to access computers remotely.
The Barclays gang are accused of stealing the money in April
after one of them posed as an IT engineer to attach the KVM to a
computer at the bank's local Swiss Cottage branch in London.
"This was a highly organised criminal network with each
individual filling a specific role," said Detective
Superintendent Terry Wilson, head of London Police's Central
"All criminal networks have a head and we very much believe
we have now apprehended our 'Mr Big' as part of this operation.
We believe this has put a major dent in this alleged criminal
network's ability to commit cyber-crime in this country."
The KVM enabled the perpetrators to remotely siphon off cash
from customers' accounts and transfer it to bank accounts under
their control, police said.
London detectives said the scam was a new and growing type
of cyber crime that was low-risk but gave high rewards. Wilson
said they were working with banks to boost safety measures.
"Those responsible for this offence are significant players
within a sophisticated and determined organised criminal
network, who used considerable technical abilities and
traditional criminal know-how to infiltrate and exploit secure
banking systems," said Detective Inspector Mark Raymond.
Police said the eight men, aged between 24 and 47, had been
arrested on Thursday and Friday. Searches at properties across
London yielded cash, jewellery and drugs as well as thousands of
credit cards, and personal data.
Barclays were able to recover a significant amount of the
stolen cash, the police said.