Three phishers jailed for bank attacks

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Three men have received a total of more than 13 years in jail thanks to their role in a "sophisticated and concerted attack" on UK and international banks, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.

Ayodeji John Kareem, 38, Vincent Alonge, 31, and Babatunde Fafore, 41, were involved in a network of criminals which sought to attain banking data from end users through phishing.

Arrests were made in August 2010 after a lengthy Police National E-Crime Unit (PCeU) investigation, codenamed Operation Dynamophone.

The network managed to gain control over 900 bank accounts and 10,000 credit cards through their illicit activities, together worth 1.13 million.

Of that amount, just under 600,000 was successfully stolen, police said.

"In collaboration with law enforcement colleagues and industry partners both in the UK and overseas we are working to identify and bring to justice those committing serious and organised offences of this nature online, and to reduce the harm they cause to innocent individuals and to the economy," said the PCeU's DI Colin Wetherill.

"These convictions represent a significant step forward."

The defendants used typical phishing techniques to snare users, sending out emails to members of the public, purportedly from the bank.

The messages directed the users to fake banking websites, where users entered their details, which were then acquired by the criminals.

"These men profited enormously by taking advantage of the trust that many of us would place in an internet service that appeared genuine, but their enjoyment of their ill-gotten gains was short-lived. The bogus emails and websites that led victims into the scam also led the authorities to the scammers," said David Levy, reviewing lawyer for the CPS Central Fraud Group.

"Those who use the internet thinking they can phish with impunity should be warned by this case that you will be found out and you will be prosecuted."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.