Nineteen people were arrested yesterday in the UK and are suspected of being part of an Eastern European gang that used the ZeuS Trojan to steal online banking credentials from unsuspecting victims and syphon around £2 million per month to their accounts.
The criminals were caught in a series of synchronized early-morning raids executed by Scotland Yard’s e-Crime Unit, whose investigators have been on the case from the moment they received various notifications from a large number of banks regarding a sudden surge in online banking fraud.
The 20-something mastermind behind the gang’s operation has also been arrested in yesterday’s raids, along with his wife and another couple (also part of the gang), in an – as the Daily Mail calls it – unremarkable flat in the Greater London Area.
It is believed that he is the IT expert who set up the whole operation and run it from that flat, by simply using a laptop and a notebook in which he noted the money figures that had been transferred and their final destination.
The gang – hoping to evade suspicion – opened scores of “drop” bank accounts in various banks and used money mules to collect the stolen money. It is believed that they have stolen around £6 million in some three months, and possibly even more. Some 600 accounts in various British banks are known to have been breached, but the police suspects hundreds more to have been compromised.
The arrested suspects – 15 men and four women – will likely be charged for offenses that fall under the Computer Misuse Act, Proceeds of Crime Act and Fraud Act.