Suspected bank hacker, BDC operators arrested over N1.868bn scam

Femi Salau, a suspected hacker, has been arrested by the Lagos State police Special Fraud Unit for allegedly breaking into a first-generation bank’s system and defrauding them of N1.868 billion.

Two Bureau De Change employees were also apprehended, allegedly acting as Salau’s accomplices in the fraud.

Salau was detained for reportedly utilizing software to produce false credits of N1,868,900,000, which he placed into the accounts of some of the bank’s customers, according to reports.

Salau successfully made debits totaling N417,542,000 through Internet banking transfers to other banks, according to the SFU’s spokesman, Eyitayo Johnson, in a statement on Thursday.

According to him, the affected bank called the unit, and its agents contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria and Deposit Money Banks, whose customers were recipients of the stolen transactions, and they were able to collect a significant sum.

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.”

Salau was found with an Apple laptop and iPhone, according to Johnson, who also stated that he and the BDC operators who laundered the money would be charged as soon as the inquiry was completed.

“We had been on the trail of the hacker (Salau) for a while; he travelled out of the country; thus, we placed him under watch and picked him up from the airport,” Johnson explained how the suspects were apprehended.

“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.

By Tayo Olusanya

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