Police arrest new suspect in 2011 'student loans' phishing attack

Investigation still ongoing

Police have made an unexpected new arrest in connection with the long-running investigation into a phishing gang that stole £1.5 million ($2.5 million) from the bank accounts of U.K.-based students in 2011.

On Wednesday, police picked up an unnamed 34 year-old Nigerian man in Manchester, removing a haul of computers and phones as part of the investigation.

Earlier this week, what appeared to be the final significant member of the Nigerian gang, Olajide Onikoyi, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, the fourth person convicted for the attacks. It now looks as if the investigation is ongoing.

A total of 12 people have now been arrested in connection with the August 2011 attacks, with the first being found guilty as long ago as July 2012. Further convictions followed in February 2013, followed by another two this month, including that of Onikoyi.

"We've made this arrest in connection with an ongoing investigation into offences which date back to 2011. This shows our utter commitment to pursuing those suspected of cyber crime. In this case, the victims are students and banks," commented detective inspector Sanjiv Gohil of the MPS Cyber Crime Unit.

"We work really closely with the banking industry to locate and bring to justice those who seek to profit from illicit cyber activities, especially at the expense of innocent members of the public."

During the 2011 attacks, the gang used a phishing email to trick an estimated 1,300 students into revealing their financial details on a bogus website set up to look like that of the Student Loans Company.

Police said they believed the latest individual arrested had been involved in "controlling a botnet," presumably the one used to send the emails that set up the attacks.

Because it often crosses multiple international borders, phishing is a crime that can be notoriously difficult to prosecute. However, the MPS Police Central e-Crime Unit and its new successor the National Cyber Crime Unit have gone to unusual lengths to track down phishing attack gangs with a domestic origin.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Personal TechsecurityMPS Cyber Crime Unit

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 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

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts