The Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit has arrested 19 people in an intelligence-led operation, following the theft of around £6 million from UK bank accounts.
In total, 15 men and four women were arrested, two of whom were also arrested on firearms offences, after they allegedly infected thousands of home PCs with the ZeuS virus.
ZeuS intercepts personal information when a user logs on to the websites of targeted financial institutions, and is reportedly undetectable by most security software suites.
Money was then fraudulently transferred to drop accounts that had been set up and controlled by the cyber-criminals.
“We’ve worked closely with UK banks through our Virtual Taskforce approach to gather information and evidence which has resulted in today’s arrests,” said detective chief inspector Terry Wilson of the PCeU.
“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 – which of course banks have had to repay at considerable cost to the economy.”