Hackers used a virus to steal more than £2 million in cyberpunk cash from an organisation linked to the hacking collective Anonymous, security researchers have said.
Cybercrime is a growing concern in the UK, where authorities are cracking down on online fraud.
One of the most recent cases involved the sale of a number of luxury cars to a woman believed to be the victim of an identity theft.
A security researcher who called himself Zerologon said on Twitter he discovered a virus that allowed hackers to steal from a number “of accounts belonging to the hacker collective Anonymous”.
The hacker group, which calls itself the Legion of Doom, is responsible for many of the hackings.
He said the group used the virus to hack into “a number of accounts belonging in the group Anonymous” to steal money.
“Anonymous has taken a huge risk in the past, and I think it’s time for them to realise that,” he said.
“I think Anonymous is now going to have to be very careful.”
Anonymous has taken the high-profile step of making a series of statements on Twitter in the wake of the breaches, calling for the hacking group to be held accountable and warning that “we will find them” if it is not held accountable.
The group said the attacks were “unprecedented in the history of cyber-criminal activity”.
Anonymous said it had launched an investigation into the attacks and that “there is no excuse for cyber-criminals to have been able to steal all this money”.
“Our hackers will be prosecuted for the crime of cybercrime and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice,” the group said in a statement.
The latest data breach comes less than a week after the group also announced a series that targeted the UK’s finance and technology sectors.
A similar attack in January targeted the banking industry, which it said was “at the centre of financial corruption and fraud”.
The group claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was working on a new attack to steal funds from banks.
In a statement, Anonymous said that it “is now aware of a significant cyberattack” on the banking system that it blamed on “the Legion of Destiny”.
Anonymous also said that the attackers “have been identified as members of the cybercrime group ZERO.0”.
ZERO 0.0, a cybercriminal organisation linked with Anonymous, claimed responsibility on Twitter for the attacks.
The UK is a target for hackers because it has large financial services sectors, including financial institutions and multinational corporations, and also has a number on the police radar.
Earlier this month, police announced that they had arrested two men and seized a large amount of cash in relation to the breach.
Cyber security firm Sophos said it believed the recent attacks were aimed at financial institutions.
“A number of banks are targeted as the targets for the next phase of the campaign and it is possible that these attacks could target major US and European financial institutions, particularly those that have operations in the US, the UK and the eurozone,” the firm said in its weekly report.
Anonymous said in an emailed statement that the group had launched a new campaign “to break into banks and other financial institutions”.
Anonymous has been known to attack businesses and governments for years, using the group’s name, which means “under god”.
The hacking group has been linked to a series, known as AnonymousStrike, which has been dubbed by US authorities the “Cyber Santa” and which has targeted governments around the world.
The attacks have also been blamed on Anonymous and other hackers, which have claimed responsibility.
The groups latest attacks came as the UK government was debating a bill to tighten cyber security legislation.
It has already seen the passing of a controversial bill that could see hackers face up to three years in jail if they are found to have “subordinated” a computer system.
The bill would also see cyber security agencies required to keep detailed records of “threats” posed by hackers and to conduct a criminal investigation if there is evidence that their actions were “caused or contributed to” cyber attacks.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would make a decision on the bill by the end of the week.