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SpyEye suspects charged over alleged banking scam

Two in court, one on bail

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UK police have arrested three men over an alleged scam involving stealing money from online bank accounts that had been compromised using the infamous SpyEye Trojan.

Two of the three men – Pavel Cyganoc, 26, a Lithuanian resident of Birmingham, and Aldis Krummins, 45, a Latvian resident of Goole, Humberside – appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Saturday charged with computer hacking, fraud and money-laundering offences. A third (unnamed) 26-year-old suspect was released on police bail pending further inquiries.

The gang are alleged to have used banking Trojans, created using the SpyEye cybercrime toolkit, to lift bank login credentials from compromised PCs, PC World reports. It is unclear whether the suspects were simply money mules – low-level cyber-crooks tasked with receiving funds from locally compromised accounts before sending the proceeds of crime to east European cybercrime lords – or higher up the food chain.

Investigations in the case, which began in January and remain ongoing, were led by the Police Central e-Crime Unit, a specialist squad of cybercops based in Scotland Yard. A Met police spokesman confirmed the names of the suspects but was unable to provide further information on the case due to a reporting restriction, routinely imposed at the early stage of UK court proceedings.

Last year, police in the US and UK arrested dozens of suspected money mules while police in the Ukraine arrested three higher level suspects in an alleged racket involving the ZeuS cybercrime toolkit.

Both ZeuS and SpyEye create a means to create customised banking Trojans. Each is offered for sale via unground cybercrime forums for around $1,000 a licence.

Reports last October suggest the author of ZeuS hung up his coding tools and passed on development of his malware to the developer of SpyEye, a former rival. Development of both products has continued since, with Both ZeuS and SpyEye continuing to support a malign ecosystem of resellers and end users. ®

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