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Cybercriminals steal £20m from UK banks

Cyber crooks have developed a malware in order to access online banking information, allowing them to steal millions from individual accounts and business bank accounts around the world. The criminals has already netted approximately £20m from UK bank accounts.

The strain of malware, known as Dridex, Bugat, and Cridex malware has been developed by computer criminal masterminds in Eastern Europe and has allowed the crooks to access sensitive banking information for millions of accounts over the world. The malware is sent to the user via email and has been developed to bypass spam filters and junk folders, so it appears to be a safe, legitimate email. Computers then become infected when the recipient opens the attached documents sent in the email.

It’s thought that in the UK alone, there could be thousands of infected computers, and many more the world over. The National Crime Agency is currently working closely with the FBI’s cyber unit to redirect the malicious malware software so that it can be captured and analysed by experts. They aim to stop the infected computers, known as botnet, from forwarding transmissions to other computers over the internet and by doing so, hope to disrupt communication from the computers to the cyber criminals controlling them.

The National Crime Agency has already been successful in eradicating a large part of the botnet, effectively making the malware harmless and steps are being taken to safeguard those affected. The agency is urging those affected and those who may be unaware of the virus to take extra precautions when opening seemingly inconspicuous emails and to have security measures put in place, such as installing anti-malware software on their computers to protect their machines from future cyber crime attacks. A spokesperson for the agency has said: “Users are urged to visit the CyberStreetWise and GetSafeOnline websites where a number of anti-virus tools are available to download to help clean up infected machines and get advice and guidance on how to protect themselves in the future.” Enhancement of security systems is a must in order to prevent further malware attacks.

Mike Hulett who heads the operations at the National Cyber Crime Unit has urged anyone who thinks they’ve been affected and has had their bank details compromised, to contact their bank and the cyber crime reporting centre Action Fraud. Hullett has said: “This is a particularly virulent form of malware and we have been working with our international law enforcement partners, as well as key partners from industry, to mitigate the damage it causes. Our investigation is ongoing and we expect arrests to made.”

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