Barclays hit by Cyber Criminals

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Monday, 23 September 2013 19:53 Written by DFM News

Eight men have arrested in connection with the theft of almost £1m from a Barclays branch in London.

The money was stolen from a Barclays branch in Swiss Cottage, London, earlier this year, using a device known as a "keyboard, video and mouse" (KVM) switch. The hardware can be purchased online for as little as £10 and is the size of a small laptop computer. The devices allowed the gang to transmit the contents of the computer's desktop and take control of the machine remotely.

It is believed the device was installed by a man who pretended to be an IT engineer to gain access to the branch. Most likely using effective Social Engineering techniques to gain access. Around £1.3m was withdrawn from accounts, although much of the money has since been recovered.

Police believe the gang ran the operation from "control room" at an address in Marylebone, central London, and that one of the men being held is the "Mr Big" of UK cybercrime.

Detective Inspector Mark Raymond, of the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit (PeCU), said: "Those responsible for this offence are significant players within a sophisticated and determined organised criminal network, which used considerable technical abilities and traditional criminal know-how to infiltrate and exploit secure banking systems."

The men, aged between 24 and 47, are in custody at various police stations in London, where they are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to defraud. Thousands of credit cards and people's personal data were seized following searches of properties in Westminster, Newham, Camden, Brent and Essex. Detective Superintendent Terry Wilson, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "We've actually been quite astounded by what we've come across, which is effectively a cyber crime control room."

The arrests come after four men appeared in court accused of a failed attempt to take control of computers at a Santander branch in southeast London, again using a KVM device. Police said they foiled a "very significant and audacious cyber-enabled offence" that would have cost the bank millions of pounds. The use of KVM devices to commit "low risk, high financial yield cyber-enabled crime" is on the rise, according to the Metropolitan Police. A spokesman for the force said the latest arrests followed a "long-term, intelligence-led operation" involving PeCU and Barclays, whose security team detected the theft.