Two held over theft that cracked online banking

Friday, 7 March 2003, 1:35 PM EST

Tokyo police arrested two men on suspicion of stealing 16 million yen through an online banking scheme that might involve hundreds of victims, officials said Thursday.

Ko Hakata, 35, a former think tank employee, and Goro Nakahashi, 27, a company employee, are accused of theft and illegally accessing information on the Internet, police said.

Police said the pair used Internet cafes and software that records keyboard strokes to break into the Net-banking system, which allows clients to conduct banking transactions, such as transferring funds, online.

Under the system, customers are required to enter identification numbers or passwords to access their accounts on the Web sites of banks.

The scheme started when the two secretly installed the ``key catcher'' software onto computers at an Internet cafe in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, the officials said.

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