Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s central e-cime unit (PCeU) have arrested 12 men in connection with an audacious attempt to take control of a bank’s computer in order to steal from them.
On Thursday officers arrested 11 men aged between 23 and 50 years in Hounslow in connection with an allegation of conspiracy to steal from Santander Bank.
A further arrest of a 34-year-old man was made at Vauxhall Bridge Road in connection with the same offence.
Searches have been carried out at a number of addresses within Westminster, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Brent and Richmond, and also in Slough, where property has been seized.
The Met says that the arrests are the result of a long-term, intelligence-led, proactive operation by the PCeU.
“Yesterday’s time-critical, dynamic response was achieved by working in partnership with the banking sector, thwarting a very significant and audacious cyber-enabled offence, and avoiding multi-million-pound losses from Santander at Surrey Quays Shopping Centre,” said a police spokesman.
The offence involved deploying a KVM (keyboard video mouse) device, fitted to a computer within the bank branch, allowing the transmission of the complete desktop contents of the bank computer over the network. In effect, this allowed the suspects to take control of the bank computers remotely. Those arrested are currently in custody at a London police station.
Detective Inspector Mark Raymond, of the PCeU, said: “This was a sophisticated plot that could have led to the loss of a very large amount of money from the bank, and is the most significant case of this kind that we have come across.
“I would like to thank our partners from the industry who have provided valuable assistance throughout this investigation.
“The PCeU is committed to tackling cyber-crime and the damage it can cause to individuals, organisations and the wider economy.”