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FBI arrests at least 10 in global bank hacking scheme

September 30, 2010|Bloomberg News

At least 10 people were arrested in the U.S. in connection with an alleged global scheme to hack into bank accounts and steal millions of dollars using a computer virus, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan held a news conference today to announce federal and state charges against 60 people related to the probe. Bharara's office said the hackers used a so-called Trojan horse computer program known as "Zeus" and other Internet viruses to infect bank accounts.

The software counted keystrokes and collected personal information such as log-ins, giving criminals unauthorized access to the electronic banking accounts, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation who wasn't authorized to speak on the record.

Authorities in the U.K. yesterday announced charges against 11 people for an online banking fraud that affected HSBC Holdings, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and two other banks, the Metropolitan Police said.

"The Zeus Trojan poses a sizeable threat to the safe use of the Internet and is being used increasingly by cyber- criminals worldwide -- not simply those believed to be involved in this case," police in the U.K. said.

Fifteen men and four women were arrested Sept. 28 in early morning raids on suspicion of hacking thousands of U.K. bank accounts and stealing about 6 million pounds ($9.5 million), the Metropolitan Police said yesterday in a statement.

The 11 people charged, all identified as being from Eastern Europe, face counts including conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and possession of false or improperly obtained identification, U.K. police said in a second statement.

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