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Seven Arrested In PCeU Phishing Probe

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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Police cracking down on phishing activity as major operation with SOCA yields results

UK police have arrested seven in an ongoing investigation into a major phishing scam, which saw over 2000 pages placed online attempting to trick users into handing over personal data.

Arrests were made in Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Shrewsbury, with two 18-year-olds apprehended. They were all arrested this morning on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

Young man in handcuffs - copyright FotoliaThe same investigation, which involves the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and West Mercia Police, saw three men arrested in October in a central London hotel. Those three – one Nigerian and two Romanian nationals – are now facing charges related to the fake phishing websites.

Gone phishing

“These web pages were made to mimic various genuine banking websites, and were designed to dupe unsuspecting victims into logging on to the fake sites and providing their banking credentials to the criminal gang,” the PCeU said in a statement

“A large number of these victims’ accounts were subsequently illegally accessed by the fraudsters and money extracted.

“The PCeU and SOCA Cyber would like to remind members of the public never to click on links in unsolicited emails purporting to be from banks or building societies.”

The investigation is the first joint operation between the PCeU and SOCA’s cyber arm. Both will be fully integrated in October 2013 when they become part of the  National Cyber Crime Unit.

Earlier this month, SOCA arrested one man in relation to an international investigation into a massive botnet that had bots installed on over 11 million machines.

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