KASARGOD: Suspected hackers siphoned off Rs 22 lakh from two accounts in the State Bank of India, and used the stolen money to buy digital currency bitcoin, Cyber Cell officers investigating the case said on Saturday. The accounts belonged to two cooperative banks in Kasargod, an officer said.
The Cyber Cell, working under the district police chief, said it had got complaints from two service cooperative banks in Bedadka and Chengala that their money was stolen from their accounts with the SBI. “We have traced the money to a bitcoin trader in Delhi. The FIR will be filed today. Once that is done, we will know who are the bitcoin buyers,” an officer investigating the case said. For the time being, Kasargod police have got the recipient bank accounts frozen, he said. The officer said Cyberdome, the technological research and development centre of the Kerala police, was aiding their investigation.
The Cyber Cell said Rs 5.87 lakh belonging to Bedadka Cooperative Bank was stolen from its account with the SBI Thayalangadi branch on January 4. On January 6 and 8, the cooperative bank in Chengala lost Rs 16.95 lakh from its account with the SBI Civil Station branch, the officer said. The suspected hackers used net banking to transfer the money, he said. The officer said the Bedadka Cooperative Society’s money was transferred to an ICICI Bank account in Delhi twice using the RTGS route.
The officer said the account belonged to a bitcoin trader and he made transactions on localbitcoins.com. “There is nothing illegal in his business. He got the money after selling bitcoins to his customer,” the officer said.
The police said they could initiate the process to know the identities of the bitcoin buyers only after the first information report was registered. However, on the request of the police, the ICICI Bank had frozen the bitcoin trader’s account, which has around Rs 6 lakh.
The money from Chengala Cooperative Bank was transferred to an Axis Bank account and an SBI account in Uttar Pradesh, he said.
Both the accounts had also been frozen. Cyber Cell officers said it could be possible the cooperative banks could have been complacent in protecting the details of internet banking. “The officers of the societies said they did not receive the one-time password via SMS either,” an officer said. He said the investigation had not yet revealed anything to point at a breach in the SBI’s security.
Rs 16.95 L
The amount that went missing from Chengala cooperative bank’s account in SBI Civil Station branch on January 6 and 8
Rs 5.87 L
Money belonging to Bedadka Cooperative Bank stolen from its account with the SBI Thayalangadi branch on January 4