U.K. Police Catch E-Bank Robbers

British police arrested three men yesterday who attempted to rob an online bank, London's Egg PLC.þAccording to the bank, the arrests came after a six-month investigation in which the bank cooperated with the police to set up an electronic trap.þ"We installed a piece of software that enabled us to identify these people," said Egg spokeswoman Poppy Nagra. "No customers lost money. There was no breach of security. It was very much a proactive security exercise for us." Egg, the online banking offering from Prudential PLC, has 1.1 million customers.þIt was the first case of its kind for Egg, Nagra said, and may well be the first such instance in the Internet banking industry.þNagra said the men tried to get bank and credit-card loans. She said she couldn't elaborate further because the case is still being investigated.þThe three men, all in their 30s, live in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, counties surrounding London, British media reports said. They used a security loophole at Egg that allowed users to open multiple accounts using the same user information.þThe three have been released on bail, reports said. Other Internet banks may have also been targeted.þOnline banks could draw a lesson from this, said Richard Bell, an analyst at Needham, Mass.-based TowerGroup.þ"Banks have got to protect themselves in the Internet arena just as they have in the real world from all the fraud," he said. "This is a classic fraud." The men made mistakes and got caught, he added, but the next group of thieves may learn from those mistakes.

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