US arrests made in $3m global cyber fraud

4 October 2010

US prosecutors have brought charges against 37 individuals in the US for their part in a $3 million global banking fraud.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigaton (FBI), the hackers distributed malware including a Zeus Trojan in the form of a seemingly safe email.

Once the message was opened, the virus tracked the key strokes of users in order to record confidential details such as banking account numbers and passwords as they were typed.

The hackers were subsequently able to access customer funds, then transfer money to accounts managed by other members of the gang.

Preet Bharara, New York attorney, said: “The digital age brings with it many benefits, but also many challenges for law enforcement and our financial institutions.

“As today's arrests show, the modern, high-tech bank heist does not require a gun, a mask, a note, or a getaway car. It requires only the Internet and ingenuity.”

Of the 37 charges made, 20 individuals have been arrested with the remaining 17 defendants being sought both in the US and abroad.

Meanwhile, the authorities in the UK have charged ten individuals from eastern Europe with a similar crime of committing online fraud.

By Jim Ottewill

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