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£229m Sumitomo spyware trial begins in London

'Bank hackers' used poker game as cover

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The trial of alleged cybercrooks accused of mounting an attempt to steal £229m from accounts at Sumitomo Mistsui bank by planting spyware on corporate systems has begun in London.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard allegations that an insider working as a security supervisor smuggled two computer crackers into the bank's headquarters under cover of a poker game in September 2004. The ne'er-do-wells allegedly installed keylogging software designed to record the login credentials for bank systems, a jury heard.

A month later the hackers returned and allegedly tried to transfer funds using the stolen security information. But the attempted transfers (to accounts controlled by accomplices in Spain, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore) repeatedly failed because of mistakes in filling out one of the fields in the Swift system used to make transfers. The accounts targeted were run by Toshiba International, Nomura Asset Management, Mitsui OSK Lines and Sumitomo Chemical.

The scheme finally unravelled when Sumitomo staff noticed that their PCs had been interfered with and cables disconnected after they returned to work after a weekend break. This, alongside the failed transfers, led to a police investigation that resulted in a number of arrests.

The security supervisor Kevin O’Donoghue, 34, of Birmingham, and Belgian hackers Jan Van Osselaer, 32, and Gilles Poelvoorde, 34, have confessed their involvement in the failed caper. Three of their alleged accomplices, who prosecutors charge set up bank accounts into which the gang planned to transfer funds, are now in the dock.

Hugh Rodley, 61, of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire (aka Lord Rodley), David Nash, 47, Durrington, West Sussex, and Inger Malmros, 58, of Sweden, deny conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to transfer criminal property charges, The Times reports.

The trail continues.®

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