International hackers attempt massive heist

The National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has foiled a gang of hackers aiming to steal £220m from a Japanese bank in London.

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After gaining access to the IT systems of Sumitomo Corporation’s London offices in October the gang installed key-logging software to record log-in codes and company documents. They had been planning to transfer the money to 10 bank accounts around the world.

But the gang’s movements were picked up, and the NHTCU launched an investigation. In a joint operation with police forces around the world the hackers were stopped before any funds could be transferred.

Police in Israel have arrested a man and charged him with money laundering and deception. It is alleged that he was set to receive millions of pounds, and police say their investigations are still ongoing.

The investigation is an example of the new way police are working with businesses to deal with online crime quietly and effectively. The NHTCU operates under a Confidentiality Charter which means that police work with businesses under tight secrecy to track and stop online crime.

The head of the NHTCU, Detective chief superintendent Len Hynds, has personally driven the policy and it has had many successes, such as the arrest of phishers in November 2003, April 2004 and May 2004.

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