Japanese bank hackers had inside help, court told

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Japanese bank hackers had inside help, court told

Warwick Ashford

An attempted £229m e-raid on Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui in London in 2004 nearly succeeded with the help of a bank security officer, a city court has heard.

Security supervisor Kevin O'Donohue has admitted smuggling two Belgian hackers into the bank, duringthe trial at the Snaresbrook Crown Court, The Times reports.

Banks in London were placed on high alert following the incident, as the National High Tech Crime Unit and the City of London Police began investigations.

The hackers installed key-logging software on the bank's computer systems to record the usernames and passwords of bank employees.

The security information was used in an attempt to transfer money to accomplices in Spain, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The transfers failed to go through only because the hackers failed to fill in one of the fields in the Swift system used by banks to make money transfers.

Further attempts were prevented when the bank alerted the UK's former National Hi-Tech Crime Unit that banking systems had been tampered with.

Briton, O'Donohue and Belgians Jan Van Osselaer and Gilles Poelvoorde have admitted their roles in the planned theft.

Two other Britons and a Swede arrested in connection with the plan have denied charges of conspiracy to defraud and transfer criminal property in the ongoing trial.

The hacking attempt was described by security experts at the time as the most audaciousattempt to steal funds electronically.


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