Argentinian police announced that as part of “Operation Zombie” carried out in Buenos Aires and Rosario, they have detained a hacker responsible for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The perpetrator is a 19 year old whose identity remains secret, but the police told the media that the suspect is believed to have stolen more than $50,000 a month.
Using state-of-the-art technology and having a firm grasp on information technology, the youth has directed huge amounts of money to his bank account. He probably picked up some of the skills from his father who is an information systems engineer and decided to use that knowledge for personal gain. Obviously, hundreds of people were affected by his criminal activity as he hacked numerous servers in an attempt of intercepting money transfers.
The police are yet to determine how long he has been carrying out these criminal activities, but it is certain that they began before 2012. That was the date when the police began Operation Zombie as a result of receiving numerous complaints from people complaining about someone hacking their servers. The name of the operation is inspired by the manner in which the perpetrator stole money from his victims.
He created a network containing thousands of computers known as “zombies” to overcharge the platform responsible for payments rendering it virtually useless. When the victims tried to access their accounts they were denied, so the hacker could easily steal money without them even knowing. The 19 year old had no problem in infiltrating the servers and caused significant losses to both private individuals and companies.
The police suspect that at least six other people are part of this criminal network and they also claim that these people are responsible for robbing online game sites. The investigation is on its way, but it looks like the hackers used malware viruses to infect a server hosting online gaming applications, so that when people downloaded the software, their computers were exposed.
The arrest comes just a week after a very serious incident happened in Barcelona where some of the best poker players in the world were attending the European Poker Tour. Some laptops were briefly stolen and infected with malware, most likely for the same purpose of compromising the security of their accounts. The two cases are certainly unrelated and even the modus operandi differs, but they both highlight how vulnerable computers are and how easily cyber criminals can rob unsuspecting victims.