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The new bank robberies on the high street

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With very few people left stupid enough to blunder into a bank sporting a sawn off shotgun and the age of the good ole British villain well and truly gone to the dog track, here is what bank robberies look like these days.

Eight men have been arrested after a gang stole more than £1m from a high street bank by taking control of a computer system. A Barclays branch in Swiss Cottage was infiltrated by a man posing as an IT technician who proceeded to install a device known as a "keyboard, video and mouse" (KVM) switch. The small box, which is approximately the same size as a laptop allowed the gang to purloin the contents of the computer running into it, giving it access to all kinds of sensitive information. At that point, the computer could also be controlled remotely and with a few clicks on a keyboard, huge amounts of money – far more than high street banks store in their vaults – could be transferred.

Police believe the gang ran the operation from a "control room" at an address in Marylebone, central London, and that one of the men being held is the "Mr Big" of UK cybercrime.

Detective Inspector Mark Raymond, of the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit (PeCU), said: "Those responsible for this offence are significant players within a sophisticated and determined organised criminal network, which used considerable technical abilities and traditional criminal know-how to infiltrate and exploit secure banking systems."

The arrests come after four men failed to commit a very similar crime at a Santander branch in southeast London, again using a KVM device.

Police said they foiled a "very significant and audacious cyber-enabled offence" that would have cost the bank millions of pounds.

The rewards have never been higher, but then again, the chance of violence or being caught in the crossfire has never been lower.But the nature of the beast has changed almost beyond recognition

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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