A suspected hacker, Femi Salau, has been arrested by the police Special Fraud Unit in Lagos State for allegedly hacking into the system of a first generation bank to defraud it of about N1.868bn.
Two Bureau De Change operators, who allegedly acted as Salau’s accomplices to perpetrate the fraud, were also nabbed.
It was gathered that Salau was arrested for allegedly using a software to create fictitious credits totalling N1,868,900,000, which he deposited into the accounts of some of the affected bank’s customers.
The spokesman for the SFU, Eyitayo Johnson, said in a statement on Thursday that Salau successfully made debits amounting to N417,542,000 through Internet banking transfers to other banks.
He stated that the affected bank petitioned the unit and its operatives contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria and Deposit Money Banks, whose customers were beneficiaries of the fraudulent funds, and they were able to recover a substantial amount.
He said, “Operatives of the Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, Lagos, have arrested one Femi Salau, the kingpin of a syndicate that specialises in hacking into the servers of banks and corporate agencies.
“The hacker, who displayed exemplary mastery of the cyber environment, was arrested after he hacked into the Flex-Cube Universal Banking System of a first generation bank.
“Using application software, he created fictitious credits totalling N1,868,900,000 on the accounts of three of the bank’s customers and successfully consummated debits amounting to N417,542,000 through Internet banking transfers to other banks.
“The unit, while acting swiftly on a petition from the bank, contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria and Deposit Money Banks, whose customers were beneficiaries of the fraudulent funds, and was able to salvage a substantial amount.”
Johnson stated that items recovered from Salau included Apple laptop and iPhone, adding that he and the BDC operators, who laundered the money, would be charged as soon as investigation was concluded.
Explaining how the suspects were arrested, Johnson said, “We had been on the trail of the hacker (Salau) for a while; he travelled out of the country; so, we placed him under watch and picked him up from the airport.
“The Commissioner of Police in charge of the unit, Anderson Bankole, arrested one of the BDCs operators in a bank in Abuja when he went for the IGP’s conference. The other BDC operator was arrested in Lagos.
“The hacker (Salau) was the last person we arrested, because the way we conduct our investigation is from the bottom up.”
“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the unit scheduled a meeting with the Chief Compliance Officers and Heads of Technology/Information Security Department of banks with a view to brainstorming on the loopholes exploited by this suspect and how to counter similar hacks for the benefit of both the police and the banking sector of our economy,” Johnson added.