Phony Lord jailed over bank hacking attempt

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A self-styled British Lord has been jailed for eight years for his part in a plot to steal US$229 million using malicious software.

A self-styled British Lord has been jailed for eight years for his part in a plot to steal US$229 million using malicious software.

Hugh Rodley, who bought a Lordship, was described as the front man for an organised crime gang that were planning Britain’s biggest ever bank robbery, which would be achieved by subverting the bank’s computer systems.

The court heard how Rodley set up accounts at the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, supposedly for his business interests. The accounts were to be used to manage the stolen money.

Two hackers were used in the attack, after the bank’s security supervisor, Kevin O'Donoghue, agreed to let them have access to the banking systems at the London headquarters.

Jan Van Osselaer from Belgium and Gilles Poelvoorde from France were let into the building and given fake security passes by O'Donoghue. Once inside they installed keylogging software onto the servers that would track senior executives and steal access codes to the bank’s financial systems.

A few days leter the two returned and retrieved the information for analysis. After a few weeks of preparation O'Donoghue let them back into the building and they attempted to transfer US$229 million from corporations like Toshiba and Nomura into Rodley’s accounts.

However, despite two attempts the two were unable to successfully transfer the funds and abandoned their attempts. It turns out a small mistake in the transfer orders was all that stopped them.

Bank staff noticed the failed transactions and the police were called to investigate. The UK's National High Tech Crime Unit, now part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), conducted an international inquiry and the case quickly unraveled.

Rodley received a sentence of eight years while his co-conspirator who provided funds for the accounts received a three year tariff. O’Donoghue was jailed for four years, four months, Van Osselaer for three-and-a-half years while Poelvoorde received a four year sentence.

However, there are now concerns that this is not the first time this kind of bank robbery has been attempted. When Poelvoorde was arrested police found a USB stick containing data on a similar crime against another unnamed target.

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