UK cybercops cuff 19 ZeuS banking Trojan suspects
Gang blamed for £6m losses in three months
Updated UK police have arrested 19 cybercrime suspects who allegedly used the ZeuS crimeware toolkit to capture online banking credentials before looting victims' bank accounts.
A total of 15 men and four women, aged between 23 and 47 years old, were arrested in dawn raids on in London Tuesday by officers from the newly established Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), which is based in Scotland Yard. Investigators reckon the group is collectively responsible for the theft of £6m over the last three months from thousands of victims.
The suspects were arrested on suspicion of offences computer hacking and fraud offences and taken into custody for questioning. Two of those arrested will also be quizzed over the alleged possession of a firearm.
Police worked with the banking industry in the investigation that led up to Tuesday's arrests.
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson of the PCeU, said: "We've worked closely with UK banks through our Virtual Taskforce approach to gather information and evidence which has resulted in today's arrests."
"We believe we have disrupted a highly organised criminal network, which has used sophisticated methods to siphon large amounts of cash from many innocent peoples' accounts, causing immense personal anxiety and significant financial harm."
"Online banking customers must make sure their security systems are up to date and be alert to any unusual or additional security features requested which is at variance with their normal log-on experience. Greater public awareness and education will make it harder for personal details to be compromised and for this type of fraud to be carried out," he added.
The arrests follow reports from security firms including Trusteer and M86 Security of a series of targeted attacks at UK bank accounts using the ZeuS crimeware toolkit. ZeuS is most often used as a banking Trojan but it also lends itself to spam distribution or denial of service attacks. Customised copies of the malware are traded on underground carding forums, an business that's highly unlikely to suffer any disruption from this week's arrests.
PCeU officers separately arrested two suspected ZeuS-using cybercrooks in Manchester last November. ®
Not sure about the UK
...but in the states, it's my understanding that the bank is responsible for reimbursing the accounts in the event of fraudulent transactions of this type (again, AFAIK that protection does not apply to 419 type scams) similar to credit cards.
That said, the impact of a situation like this typically goes beyond the account balance. Depending on the balance and amount stolen this type of issue could have caused bounced checks, missed payments to other creditors (mortgage, car, credit cards, etc), which could have caused additional financial impact (late fees) not to mention impact to credit.
So in short, unless the UK is substantively different than the US on this, the victims should get their money back but that probably won't go very far to making things right.
Can't wait ...
... to see what the surnames of alleged perps are and any association with ethnic/national minorities in the UK.
RE: Unfortuanatly (sic)
".....The only "safe" way to do Internet banking is from a bootable Linux Live CD...." That won't save you from decoy sites using man-in-the-middle attacks via poisoned DNS to capture your login details. In that case, even bootable Linux CDs are vulnerable as the casue of the issue is higher up the stack on someone else's DNS device (or your cable/ADSL router). The only safe way is simply not to do online banking, fullstop. Call me a Luddite if you wish, but until my bank supplies an RSA fob and makes all logins and responses happen inside a minimum transaction time and with a checked route (to defeat man-in-the-middle attacks), I'm not interested.
One of the simplest ways to make internet banking secure would be to have access only permitted from a number of devices ( by MAC address and OS unique ID) and the typical route to that device known (as in, if Mr Smith normally makes requests via a BT Home Hub and goes three hops via the same exchange every day, but suddenly starts making requests from a new device in Russia, the login gets denied). Sure, that would put a cramp on mobile banking, but I'm not particularly interested in flashing my bank details over WiFi or 3G either.