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Police arrest London teenagers in cyber crime swoop


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Police Central e-crime Unit accuses youths of helping to run criminal online forum

The Metropolitan Police has arrested two London youths for their alleged roles in an international cyber crime forum.

The teenagers were picked up yesterday on suspicion of encouraging or assisting crime, unauthorised access under the Computer Misuse Act and conspiracy to commit fraud.

The arrests were made with the aid of the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).

The accused have not been named, and are identified only as '17-year-old male ('A') and '18-year-old man ('B')'. Both have been bailed until further enquiries are completed in early August when the 10-month investigation closes.

The PCeU believes that the pair were involved in the largest international English speaking online cyber criminal forum, and detectives have recovered 65,000 compromised card numbers which they said could have led to industry losses totalling £7.9m.

The forum has 8,000 members, according to the Met Police, and officers found evidence that it was "promoting and facilitating the electronic theft of personal information, credit and debit card fraud, buying and selling of personal information (including passwords and PINs), the creation and exchange of malicious computer programs (malware) and tutorials providing advice on how to commit such offences, including how to evade and frustrate law enforcement activity and exchanging details of vulnerable sites".

It is not clear whether the accused were responsible for running the site, but the Met Police said in a statement that the site had a managerial structure and was presided over by an 'administrator'. It is alleged that this person created the site and was ultimately responsible for its content.

Forum topics covered compromised databases containing thousands of personal details, including bank account numbers, PINs and passwords, malware including the Zeus Trojan, and credit card verification programs, according to the PCeU.

"Today's arrests are an example of our increasing effort to combat online criminality and reduce national harm to the UK economy and public," said Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson of the PCeU.

Alan Bentley, vice president at security firm Lumension, suggested that the arrests are a step in the right direction in the official fight against cyber crime.

"It is no secret that advice on how to maliciously obtain sensitive data is shared online, and these arrests are a tribute to the authorities investigating this type of activity," he said.

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