America

Dozens Allegedly Used Zeus Trojan Virus To Steal Millions From U.S. Bank Accounts

Prosecutors in the New York have charged more than 60 people with allegedly using computer viruses to steal more than $3 million from U.S. bank accounts.

It's called the "Zeus Trojan," NPR's Martin Kaste reports. Once it infects a computer, the virus quietly records the user's keystrokes and sends them back to the hackers.

According to New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., in this case, the virus was allegedly recording usernames and passwords as the victims used banking websites.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has charged 37 people with federal crimes. So far, 20 of them are in custody.

"The digital age brings with it many benefits, but also many challenges for law enforcement and our financial institutions," Bharara said in a statement.

As today's arrests show, the modern, high-tech bank heist does not require a gun, a mask, a note, or a getaway car. It requires only the Internet and ingenuity.

Dozens more have been charged in state court.

According to New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., "this advanced cybercrime scheme is a disturbing example of organized crime in the 21st Century — high tech and widespread."

These criminals stole from ordinary citizens and businesses using a keyboard — not a gun. The masterminds used social networking sites and other methods to recruit students into their criminal enterprise. The far-reaching results of this investigation to date represent successful cooperation among city, state, federal and foreign law enforcement officials, who worked together for a common goal — to identify and prosecute individuals who commit fraud against New Yorkers and the rest of the nation.

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