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Two charged with hacking NIC Bank database

Two computer experts accused of hacking  into NIC Bank’s database before threatening to publish confidential information they had accessed have denied multiple charges of  theft, attempted extortion and blackmail.

Mr Alex Mutungi Mutuku and Mr Stanley Kimeu Mutua sent threats to NIC bank after hacking into its l database, the prosecution told a court Wednesday.

They allegedly demanded Sh6.2 million failure to which they would make public the confidential information they had gathered, the prosecution said.

The court heard that the suspects sent threatening emails to the bank on December 18 with an intent to defraud and extort money if their demands were not met, and that they demanded that the ransom be paid in coins.

They denied that on the material day at an unknown place, with intent to extort money, they sent an email to NIC Bank Limited demanding 200 BIT coins, equivalent to Sh 6,200,000 knowing that the sent messages would be received while containing threats that were detrimental and meant to cause anxiety and injury to the said bank.”

A second charge of theft stated that on diverse dates between August 2 and 5 at the NIC bank Head Office, Nairobi, jointly with others not before court, they stole Sh 2,889,000 belonging to the bank.

ACCOMPLICE

The prosecution said an accomplice in the case had already been charged with the offence of stealing and sought to merge the case with that of Mr Sylvester Muthoka Kamula who is accused of stealing Sh2.8 million from NIC Bank.

The suspects, whose occupation is listed as “IT consultants” spent two days in custody at the Kilimani Police Station as cybercrime investigators cracked encryption codes in their laptops which they had allegedly used to infiltrate the bank’s systems.

They were each released on a cash bail of Sh 700,000 with alternatives of depositing Sh 1 million bonds with similar sureties.

The prosecution claims the suspects allegedly demanded to be given the money in “200 BIT coins” or else they publish the “confidential” material they had accessed.

They have been charged under the Communication Commission of Kenya Act 2013 which prohibits unathorised access to computer networks.

There has been a rise on cyber related crimes targeting financial institutions and private business with 77 Chinese recently arrested while operating a high end computer backup suspected to be used in money laundering, fraud and infiltration of bank accounts. The suspects are still in custody awaiting trial.

Magistrate Hellena Nderitu set a hearing date for the NIC case on  January 27 at the Nairobi Chief Magistrate’s court.