Eight arrested in UK after Barclays Bank branch IT taken over by cyber-criminals

23 September 2013

Eight men have been arrested in the UK in connection with a £1.3m theft by a gang of cyber-criminals who took control of a Barclays Bank in-branch computer system in Swiss Cottage, North London, allowing them to illegally transfer money.

According to the UK capital’s Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), the eight men are currently in custody for the Barclays cyber-raid which occurred in April and some of them may be connected to a conspiracy to defraud other UK banks, using the same keyboard video mouse (KVM) device that was deployed at Barclays’ branch by a pretend IT engineer to gain access to its computer systems. 12 men were detained last week for a similar KVM cyber-raid against a Santander branch in Surrey, UK. It is not known yet if the two cases are connected of if this later failed attempt against Santander involves members from the same organised gang, but the similarity between the two cases is striking.

Commenting on the Barclays’ arrests, Detective Inspector Mark Raymond of the Met’s PCeU, said: "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."

The Met’s PCeU unit added that the KVM device used at Barclays’ Swiss Cottage branch in north London allowed the gang to control multiple computers and to transfer money to a series of predetermined bank accounts in order to try to launder the money. The tracking of the gang’s activities since the initial attack in April, and cooperation between the banks and police, lead to the eventual arrests.

According to Barclays “a significant amount" of the £1.3m originally stolen back in April has been recovered. According to the bank’s statement: "We identified the fraud and acted swiftly to recover funds on the same day”. The bank went on to add that: “we can confirm that no customers suffered financial loss as a result of this action."

By Neil Ainger

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