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Hacker held pending extradition

Bangkok's Ratchadapisek Criminal Court yesterday ordered that Algerian hacking suspect Hamza Bendelladj, 24, be detained pending extradition to the United States for prosecution over banking fraud.

Bendelladj, who got a computer science degree in Algeria in 2008, was apprehended at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday night. The suspect was allegedly heading to Cairo and had a layover in Bangkok. He is wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for allegedly hacking into bank accounts, which made him US$10 million (Bt304.6 million).

Bendelladj claims he used the money for personal expenses and travel, and was not connected to any cyber crime syndicate.

The lawsuit states the suspect used the "spy eye" software to steal people's financial information through phony Web pages from 217 computer networks worldwide from December 2009 to September 2011. An arrest warrant was issued in the state of Georgia on December 21, 2011. US authorities later called on Thai police to nab him and also requested that he be detained pending extradition.

Immigration Police deputy chief Preecha Thimamontri said the FBI had been looking for the suspect for three years now, adding that Bendelladj, who graduated with a 3.9 grade point average, was fluent in five languages and targeted banks worldwide. He warned people not to open any suspicious e-mails to protect themselves from hackers




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