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Thai Police Arrest Alleged ZeuS Mastermind

Bianca STANESCU

January 10, 2013

Thai Police Arrest Alleged ZeuS Mastermind

Thai police arrested a 24-year old Algerian hacker allegedly behind several ZeuS botnets, according to The Bangkok Post and security researcher Brian Krebs. The man was on the FBI Wanted List for several years after earning a luxury lifestyle with tens of millions of dollars out of cyber-crime.

Computer science graduate Hamza Bendelladj might be a major operator of botnets powered by the ZeuS banking Trojan, Krebs argued. The security expert might have interviewed Bendelladj after hacking Moldavian national Vasile Besliu, also arrested for cyber-crime.

“Turns out that in 2011, I was contacted via instant message by a hacker who said he was operating botnets using the Zeus and SpyEye Trojans,” Krebs wrote on his security blog. “This individual reached out to me repeatedly over the next year, for no apparent reason except to brag about his exploits.”

Thai Police Arrest Alleged ZeuS Mastermind
Algerian national Hamza Bendelladj (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Bendelladj was arrested late Sunday at the airport. Present at the police press conference, the Algerian denied he was among the 10 most wanted by the FBI.

“I’m not in the top 10, maybe just 20th or 50th,” the Algerian laughed, according to media reports. “I am not a terrorist.”

With just a satellite phone and a notebook as his main tools, Bendelladj became a millionaire after hacking accounts in 217 banks and financial companies worldwide.

“We were tipped off to his arrival by the FBI, who have been following his case for the past three years,” Immigration Police Chief Panu Kerdlarppol said. “With just one transaction he could earn 10 to 20 million dollar. He’s been travelling the world flying first class and living a life of luxury.”

Thailand plans to extradite the Algerian to the US, where a Georgia court has already issued a warrant for his arrest.

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