Police foil attempt to steal millions from bank using remote control KVM device

Twelve men arrested in London raid

The Metropolitan Police have foiled an extraordinary plot to steal millions of pounds from a London branch of Santander Bank using a remote control device planted on one of its computers by a bogus maintenance man.

On Thursday evening, the Police's Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) arrested 12 men between the ages of 23 and 50 years old accused of being involved in the alleged attempted heist at addresses in London, a statement said.

Police appear to have been monitoring the gang for some time, swooping when it became clear that a theft might be about to happen from the Surrey Quays branch of Santander Bank in London.

A bank source confirmed to press that a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) was fitted by someone posing as a maintenance worker, something that would have allowed the gang to control that machine remotely from inside the bank's network.

KVMs are normally used to switch between two or three desktop computers sharing the same keyboard, mouse and monitor but this fraud was carried out using what appears from a police photograph to be a wireless extender allowing the setup to be controlled from a distance.

"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," said Detective Inspector Mark Raymond of the PCeU.

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

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed that this was the first time such an unusual technique had been used in the UK by an organised criminal network.

"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," read a statement by a Santander Bank spokesperson.

"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 operates multiple levels of controls to protect customers' funds and this attack would not have been successful."

Security firms will point out the scale of cyber-attacks on banks but this conspiracy sounds more like an old-fashioned bank job using technology as a sort of digital door.

An interesting parallel for the latest case might be a $5.2 million raid on a South African bank in 2012 that is believed to have used similar remote control technique to initiate transfers to accounts which were then emptied via ATMs.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags SantanderPersonal TechPCeUsecurity

More about KVM

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place