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Police thwart cyber gang bank theft
Police have thwarted an "audacious" cyber gang from stealing millions of pounds after they remotely took control of a bank branch's computers.
The men allegedly fitted a computer within a Santander Bank branch with a "keyboard video mouse" device which allowed them to transmit its desktop contents.
Using the gadget, the men remotely took control of all the computers at the branch in Surrey Quays shopping centre in south east London, but it is unclear whether they were able to take any money.
Officers arrested 11 men aged between 23 and 50 in Hounslow, west London on Thursday. A 34-year-old was arrested in Victoria, west London.
Searches were carried out at addresses in Westminster, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Brent and Richmond, and also in Slough, where property has been seized.
A police spokeswoman said: "It is still not clear whether any money was extracted from the computers but we should have more information as the investigation develops."
The men are being held in custody at a London police station.
Detective inspector Mark Raymond, of Scotland Yard's police central e-crime unit, said: "This was a sophisticated plot that could have led to the loss of a very large amount of money from the bank, and is the most significant case of this kind that we have come across. I would like to thank our partners from the industry who have provided valuable assistance throughout this investigation."
A Santander spokesman said: "Like all high street banks, Santander works very closely with the police and other authorities to help prevent fraud. Through this co-operation, Santander was aware of the possibility of the attack connected to the arrests.
"The attempt to fit the device to the computer in the Surrey Quays Branch was undertaken by a bogus maintenance engineer pretending to be from a third party. It failed and no money was ever at risk. No member of Santander staff was involved in this attempted fraud. We are pleased that we have been able, through the robustness of our systems, to prevent the fraud and help the police gather the evidence they needed to make the arrests."