The teenager used malware to create a network of computers which diverted money illegally from accounts.
Buenos Aires, Argentina police have taken a 19-year-old man into custody on charges of orchestrating a hacker ring that stole $50,000 a month. The teenager, who has been dubbed a “superhacker” by the press and faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.
Argentine police raided the home of the man, who has not so far been named, on Friday in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Cristobal. Investigators are also examining the role the suspect’s father and brother played in his online fraud ring.
“Police have detained a young superhacker, leader of a network of seven people specializing in electronic fraud and complex financial diversions through money transfers and a games website,” a statement read.
Officers said the “superhacker” had set up a “technological cave” with high-capacity computers which he used as a base to administer his online fraud network. Police seized electronic equipment, including cables, routers and over 14 hard drives.
Prior to the raid, police cut off power to the entire block “so that the hacker could not delete key information and evidence.”
“The house was full of computers. We believe that he [the hacker] and his brother had created such a lucrative business that their parent chose not to ask what was going on,” a police source told Argentine daily Clarin.
Investigators believe that the “superhacker” funneled over $50,000 into an account in the city of Rosario, about 310 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. Using malware the teenager created a network of computers which diverted money illegally from accounts, leaving virtually no trace behind.
Buenos Aires police had been on the tail of the “superhacker” for over a year. His activities were brought to the attention of the Argentinian authorities by a businessman who ran a hosting website, where he noticed someone was interfering with money transfers.
“Web users fell victim to a malware virus used by the hacker,” said the Argentine Minister of Security. So that Internet users would not notice their money being illegally transferred, the “superhacker” carried out a denial-of-service attack, overloading the server and making it impossible for users to access their accounts.