E-crime unit arrests suspected phishing gang

The Metropolitan Police have arrested six people on suspicion of perpetrating online banking and credit fraud

Six people have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police as part of a crackdown on a suspected phishing gang based in the UK and Ireland.

The arrests were made on Tuesday and Wednesday in the UK as part of a project called Operation Dynamophone, the police force said in a statement on Wednesday.

Five men and a woman are being held in a central London police station on suspicion of running a phishing operation that utilised stolen bank details. The gang are accused of stealing £358,000 by money transfer from up to 10,000 online bank accounts and of perpetrating an estimated £3m credit fraud using 10,000 compromised credit card details. Police have yet to establish the full extent of the alleged fraud.

The gang allegedly sent out emails directing people to phishing sites that encouraged users to enter their bank details.

The investigation is ongoing, detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie of the Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU) told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. The police are trying to establish whether the gang sent emails containing malware.

"In high-volume phishing, malware infection goes on," said McMurdie. "One million emails through various channels and in various forms will get a certain percentage of response."

The investigation is being conducted by PCeU in conjunction with the Irish Garda Síochána Fraud Investigation Bureau. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Met searched five London premises, while the Garda searched a premise in Navan, County Meath.