Former Santander bank manager pleads guilty to computer misuse crimes

Customer details spilled to boyfriend

Updated A former Santander bank manager has pleaded guilty to £15,000 worth of computer misuse crimes after her boyfriend talked her into giving him illicitly obtained customer information.

This morning at the City of London Magistrates' Court in England, Abiola Ajibade, 24, of Martock Court, Consort Road, Southwark, pleaded guilty to "causing a computer to perform a function to secure unauthorised access to a program or data" contrary to section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Her crimes took place over the course of a year, starting in August 2015 when she was aged 22. The court heard that the total value of the fraudulent transactions enabled by Ajibade was £15,000.

Crown prosecutor Janaka Siriwardena, of Temple Gate Chambers, told the court: "Fraud investigators at Santander reported to police that Miss Ajibade may have had some kind of suspicious activity... Her unique staff ID was linked to a disproportionate number of Santander customer accounts which suffered fraud."

Following a report to the City of London Police's fraud investigation branch, police arrested Ajibade, seizing her phone and Macbook. She provided them with the passwords for both, allowing police to see that she had sent messages to a man named in court as Melwin Williams, who, at the time, was her boyfriend.

"It was found that certain information, that was pertinent to those customers who had fraud committed against them, was sent to this Mr Williams," Siriwardena said, adding that Williams was also investigated by police but was "NFA'd" – his case was formally marked No Further Action.

District Judge Nina Tempia said: "Her boyfriend asked her to access information on a Santander computer. She doesn't ask why and she gives him the information on four separate occasions through the year."

Although the charges were originally brought under section 2 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, Ajibade pleaded guilty under section 1. The section 1 offence, it was explained, does not require mens rea – criminal intent – to be proven.

Ajibade's defence counsel told the court: "There's elements of being taken advantage of... [Ajibade] is now studying HR management at the Greenwich School of Management. She's been doing that part-time since 2015 but has since gone full-time... She's extremely remorseful, no intention at all, should have thought it through. I would ask that you consider her age and relative level of immaturity, these do go back some time and she was much younger then."

The court also heard that Ajibade and Williams have since ended their relationship, and she was also sacked from Santander.

Tempia, who will be known to Register readers as the judge who initially ruled that accused hacker Lauri Love should be extradited to America to stand trial, ordered the hearing adjourned for probation reports on Ajibade to be prepared before sentencing.

The judge granted unconditional bail until the afternoon, warning her: "All options are on the table including committal" [to Crown court for a harsher sentence to be imposed].

Black-suited Ajibade pressed her hands together and bowed her head as the suggestion of a prison sentence was made. ®

Updated to add

Ajibade was handed a 12-month community order for 160 hours of unpaid work, fined £300 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £85.

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading
  • Cloud security unicorn cuts 20% of staff after raising $1.3b
    Time to play blame bingo: Markets? Profits? Too much growth? Russia? Space aliens?

    Cloud security company Lacework has laid off 20 percent of its employees, just months after two record-breaking funding rounds pushed its valuation to $8.3 billion.

    A spokesperson wouldn't confirm the total number of employees affected, though told The Register that the "widely speculated number on Twitter is a significant overestimate."

    The company, as of March, counted more than 1,000 employees, which would push the jobs lost above 200. And the widely reported number on Twitter is about 300 employees. The biz, based in Silicon Valley, was founded in 2015.

    Continue reading
  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022