Online bank robbers face jail time for e-crimes

Image caption,
The pair used online tools to control the PCs they compromised and stole from

Two men who used computer viruses to steal cash from online bank accounts have been jailed.

Pavel Cyganok was jailed for five years and Ilja Zakrevski for four years for masterminding the hi-tech crimes.

A third man, Aldis Krummins, was jailed for two years for helping launder some of the cash stolen by the pair.

UK police were tipped off about the criminals by Estonian police who suspected Zakrevski was using viruses to target Britons.

Cyganok and Zakrevski used the SpyEye trojan to steal login details for online bank accounts. Stolen data was uploaded to servers to which the pair had access.

The Metropolitan Police's Central E-Crime Unit (PCEU) said it had seized one of the servers that was based in the UK, which revealed about 1,000 machines had been infected by SpyEye. The seizure led the PCEU to other machines through which the two men were identified.

Cyganok was still logged on to one of the control servers when his home was raided and he was arrested. Zakrevski was arrested in Denmark for a different crime, but because British police had issued a European arrest warrant for him he was extradited to the UK in July 2011.

The PCEU said the pair had used stolen money and credit cards to finance the "large scale" purchase of luxury goods, which they had then re-sold on auction sites.

About £100,000 of the money stolen was laundered through online accounts to which the criminals had access.

"The defendants developed a highly organised IT infrastructure to enable their criminality including in some cases the automatic infection of innocent computer users with their malicious code," said Det Con Bob Burls from the PCEU in a statement.