Online bank thieves arrested with £80k and a grenade

Filed Under: Featured, Law & order, Security threats

Image courtesy of nighthawk101 on DeviantartSpecialist explosives officers in the UK removed what they suspected was a live hand grenade in a Tuesday morning raid on what detectives believe is an organized ring of cyber-criminals.

Detectives from London's Met cybercrime unit busted four people on suspicion that they were involved in planting malware that siphoned £1 million out of two UK banks.

According to The Guardian, besides the grenade, detectives seized £80,000 ($130,608) and a Range Rover following raids on addresses in the north London boroughs of Enfield and Islington.

They also seized computers, smartphones and other media devices, and luxury goods, including designer jewellery.

Two 31-year-old men, a 27-year-old woman and a 24-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to launder money and possession of an explosive.

The raid, carried out by detectives from the Metropolitan Police's new Cyber Crime Unit (MPCCU), was launched following an investigation into malicious malware that a number of bank customers inadvertently downloaded by opening emails posing as bank communications.

Thieves drained bank customers' accounts of £1 million, which was then transferred to a series of other accounts for money-laundering and eventual cash withdrawal.

The Guardian quoted DCI Jason Tunn of the MPCCU as saying that beyond the four suspects lies a more extensive criminal ring:

These arrests by the Met's cybercrime unit follow an investigation into what we suspect is an international and organised crime targeting a number of bank customers in London and across the UK. The victims have been hoodwinked by malware-carrying emails purporting to be from their banks, and subsequently had money taken from their accounts.

As of Wednesday, the male suspects were in custody at a central-London police station. The women were free on bail and set to return on a date early next year.

Police have served restraint requests to several banks seeking to freeze a number of accounts linked to the investigation.

Image of hand grenade courtesy of nighthawk101 on deviantart.com

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3 Responses to Online bank thieves arrested with £80k and a grenade

  1. Andrew · 259 days ago

    Glad to see no one got hurt with the grenade. Well done Metropolitan Police.

  2. Tony · 258 days ago

    I suspect the grenades purpose was to destroy the computer used and thus any evidence it contained moments before a raid. How rude of the MET to arrive unannounced and probably without the token bottle of wine a polite guest would bring.

  3. Richard · 255 days ago

    I grenade is a rather unsubtle way to destroy the computer. Particularly if the perp is in the room at the time.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.