Cybercriminal extradited from Thailand to United States

May 3, 2013 at 4:07 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- An international cybercriminal was extradited from Thailand to the United States to face charges for his role in creating "SpyEye" malware, U.S. officials said.

Hamza Bendelladj, an Algerian national, will face charges in Atlanta for allegedly playing a critical role in developing, marketing, distributing and controlling "SpyEye," a computer virus meant to steal financial and personal identifying information, the Justice Department said Friday in a release.

Bendelladj, 24, was charged in a 23-count indictment returned in December 2011 and unsealed Friday. Charges include conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and computer fraud.

On Jan. 5, 2013, Bendelladj was apprehended at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok in January as he was traveling from Malaysia to Egypt. He was extradited from Thailand to the United States Thursday.

"Hamza Bendelladj has been extradited to the United States to face charges of controlling and selling a nefarious computer virus designed to pry into computers and extract personal financial information," Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said.

The indictment charged Bendelladj and co-conspirators with operating servers to control computers of "unsuspecting individuals and aggressively marketing their virus to other international cybercriminals intent on stealing sensitive information," Raman said.

Court documents said the SpyEye virus is malicious computer code designed to automate the theft of confidential personal and financial information such as online banking credentials, credit card information, usernames, passwords and PINs.

From 2009 to 2011, Bendelladj and others allegedly developed, marketed and sold SpyEye and its components on the Internet, and allowed cybercriminals to alter their purchases to include customized methods of obtaining victims' personal and financial information, the documents said.

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