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Four in court over alleged Santander plot

Four men appeared in court over an alleged attempt to take control of computers at a Santander bank branch to steal millions of pounds.

It is claimed one of the plotters posed as an engineer in an attempt to fit a computer in a London branch of Santander with a "keyboard video mouse" device that allowed them to transmit its desktop contents.

The cyber gang is alleged to have tried to use the gadget to take control of all the computers at the branch in Surrey Quays shopping centre in south-east London, but the attempt failed and the Spanish bank said they were unable to steal any money.

Lanre Mullins-Abudu, 25, Dean Outram, 34, Akash Vaghela, 27 and Asad Ali Qureshi, 35 spoke only to confirm their names and details when they appeared at Westminister Magistrates' Court charged with conspiracy to steal.

Mullins-Abudu, Outram and Quereshi were remanded in custody by District Judge Howard Riddle while Vaghela was granted conditional bail.

All four are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on September 27.

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Four charged over alleged plot to steal millions

Four charged over alleged plot to steal millions Credit: Press Association

Four men have been charged over an attempt to take control of computers at a bank branch to steal millions of pounds, Scotland Yard said.

Police thwarted the cyber gang after one of the plotters allegedly posed as an engineer to fit a computer in a branch of Santander with a "keyboard video mouse" device that allowed them to transmit its desktop contents.

It is alleged the gang tried to use the gadget to take control of all the computers at the branch in Surrey Quays shopping centre in south-east London, but the attempt failed and the Spanish bank said they were unable to steal any money.

Lanre Mullins-Abudu, 25, from Putney; south-west London, Dean Outram, 34, from north-west London, Akash Vaghela, 27, from Hounslow, west London, and Asad Ali Qureshi, 35, from south-west London, have been charged with conspiracy to steal.

They will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court today.

Alleged plot to steal millions from bank

Twelve men have been arrested over an alleged plot to steal millions of pounds from a bank - but not in the old fashioned way.

A member of the gang is accused of going into a Surrey Quays bank dressed as an IT worker, then fitting a special device to a computer in the branch, which could have led to them pulling off a multi-million pound heist remotely.

12 men arrested over alleged plot 'to steal millions'

Twelve men have been arrested over an alleged plot to steal millions of pounds from a bank - but not in the old fashioned way.

A member of the gang is accused of going into a Surrey Quays bank dressed as an IT worker, then fitting a special device to a computer in the branch, which could have led to them pulling off a multi-million pound heist remotely. But the police were watching. Nick Thatcher has the details.

'Santander staff's trust exploited'

The plotters behind the attempted Santander bank theft exploited the "inherent trust" of staff as they strolled into the branch dressed as IT workers, an expert said.

Had they succeeded, the crooks could have stolen reams of customer data and potentially committed a multimillion-pound heist.

But security experts said their technique was relatively simple.

It involved the use of a keyboard video mouse - a feature commonly used by a company's IT team to administer servers and computers remotely.

Gavin Millard, of internet security firm Tripwire, said those behind the "incredibly simple" scam would have planned to manipulate technology built into the computer so they could access the machine from another location.

It looks like they pretended to be maintenance workers and used people's inherent trust to gain access to these devices and reconfigure them.

They would then have been able to access the system remotely so they could see what was happening within the bank itself.

The way that they most probably did this was by taking advantage of very standard tools that are in modern desktops.

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Bogus engineer planted keyboard device in bank plot

Police have released an image of the type of device used by a cyber gang in a foiled attempt to steal millions of pounds from a Santander bank branch in south-east London.

The Metropolitan Police, who arrested 12 men in connection with the attempt, said a plotter had posed as an engineer to fit a keyboard video mouse (KVM) device to a computer at the bank to transmit its desktop contents.

Police said the KVM device above is similar to that used in the Santander plot. Credit: Metropolitan Police

Using the gadget, the gang remotely took control of all the computers at the branch in Surrey Quays shopping centre, but the Spanish bank said they were unable to steal any money.

The bank branch pulled its shutters down and queues of worried customers used the cash points outside to check whether all funds were still in their accounts. No money had been taken.

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'No money was at risk' in foiled Santander bank plot

Santander has said no money was ever at risk and no member of staff was involved in the foiled plot to steal millions from the bank's branch in Surrey Quays, south-east London.

Like all high street banks, Santander works very closely with the police and other authorities to help prevent fraud.

Through this co-operation, Santander was aware of the possibility of the attack connected to the arrests. The attempt to fit the device to the computer in the Surrey Quays Branch was undertaken by a bogus maintenance engineer pretending to be from a third party.

It failed and no money was ever at risk. No member of Santander staff was involved in this attempted fraud. We are pleased that we have been able, through the robustness of our systems, to prevent the fraud and help the police gather the evidence they needed to make the arrests.

– Santander spokesman
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Santander bank plot 'most significant' police have faced

The Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit said the foiled plot to steal millions from a Santander bank computer at a branch in London was on a scale they had never seen before.

This was a sophisticated plot that could have led to the loss of a very large amount of money from the bank, and is the most significant case of this kind that we have come across.

I would like to thank our partners from the industry who have provided valuable assistance throughout this investigation.

The PCeU is committed to tackling cyber-crime and the damage it can cause to individuals, organisations and the wider economy.

– Detective Inspector Mark Raymond
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