Two men accused of hacking into a bank’s database and threatening to publish confidential information 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 confidential data storage, the prosecution told a court.
They allegedly demanded Sh6.2 million, failure to which they would make public the confidential information they had accessed, the prosecution told court.
The court heard that the suspects sent threatening emails to the bank on December 18, with the aim of defrauding and extorting money if their demands were not met. They allegedly demanded that the ransom be paid in virtual currency.
The two denied that on the material day at an unknown place, with intent to extort money, they sent an email to NIC Bank demanding 200 bitcoins, equivalent to Sh6.2 million, well aware the threats were detrimental and meant to cause anxiety and injury to the bank.
A second charge of theft stated that on diverse dates between August 2 and 5 at the NIC Bank head office in Nairobi, jointly with others not before court, they stole Sh2,889,000 belonging to the bank.
The prosecution said an accomplice had already been charged with stealing and sought to merge the case with that of Mr Sylvester Muthoka Kamula, who is accused of stealing the Sh2.8 million from the 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, suspected to have been used to infiltrate the bank’s systems.
They were each released on a cash bail of Sh700,000 Wednesday with alternatives of depositing Sh1 million bonds with like sureties.
The prosecution claims the suspects allegedly demanded to be given the money in 200 bitcoins or else they publish 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 in cybercrimes targeting financial institutions and private businesses. Late last year, 77 Chinese nationals were arrested after they were found operating an advanced communications equipment to be used in money laundering, fraud and infiltration of bank accounts.
Milimani Resident Magistrate Hellena Nderitu set a hearing date for January 27 at the Nairobi chief magistrate’s court.