The Lagos State Police Special Fraud Unit apprehended a suspected internet scammer who hacked into the accounts of a first generation bank and defrauded the bank of N1.868 billion.
Femi Salau, the suspected hacker, and two accomplices, two bureau de change operators, were apprehended by the police special fraud unit.
Salau was arrested on suspicion of using a software to generate fictitious credits totaling N1,868,900,000, which he then deposited into the accounts of some of the bank’s customers.
Salau successfully made debits totaling N417,542,000 through online banking transfers to other banks, according to SFU spokesman Eyitayo Johnson on Thursday.
According to him, the affected banks petitioned the unit, which then contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria and Deposit Money Banks, whose customers were recipients of the fraudulent funds.
He stated that a significant amount had been recovered thus far.
“Officials from the Special Fraud Unit in Ikoyi, Lagos, have apprehended one Femi Salau, the kingpin of a syndicate that specializes in hacking into the servers of banks and corporate entities.
“The hacker, who demonstrated exemplary mastery of the cyber environment, was arrested after he hacked into a first generation bank’s Flex-Cube Universal Banking System,” he said.
“Using application software, he created fictitious credits totaling N1,868,900,000 on three of the bank’s customers’ accounts and successfully consummated debits totaling N417,542,000 through internet banking transfers to other banks.
“While acting quickly on a petition from the bank, the unit contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria and Deposit Money Banks, whose customers were beneficiaries of the fraudulent funds, and was able to salvage a significant amount,” he said.
The SFU stated that among the items recovered from Salau were an Apple laptop and an iPhone, and that he and the BDC operators who laundered the money would be charged as soon as the investigation was completed.
Johnson elaborated on the arrest, saying, “We had been on the trail of the hacker for a while.” He left the country, so we put him under surveillance and picked him up at the airport.
“Anderson Bankole, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the unit, arrested one of the BDCs operators in an Abuja bank while he was attending the IGP’s conference. In Lagos, the other BDC operator was apprehended.”
“The hacker was the last person we arrested,” he explained, “because we conduct our investigations from the bottom up.”
“As a result, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the unit scheduled a meeting with the Chief Compliance Officers and Heads of Technology/Information Security Departments of banks to brainstorm on the loopholes exploited by this suspect and how to counter similar hacks for the benefit of both the police and our economy’s banking sector.”