The US Justice Department said Hamza Bendelladj, 24, who was known by his alias “Bx1,” an Algerian sought in connection with the computer malware designed to compromise personal identity and financial information, such as online banking credentials, credit card details, usernames, passwords and other personally identifiable information, would face charges in federal court in Atlanta, GA. The Algerian also allegedly operated a server out of Georgia, USA, controlling computers infected with the SpyEye malware.
Bendelladj was initially charged in a 23-count indictment that was returned on December 20, 2011, and unsealed Friday, including charges of wire fraud, computer fraud and conspiracy: Bendelladj was allegedly involved in in development, marketing, distribution and sales of several versions of the SpyEye computer virus and its component parts online during 2009, 2010 and 2011.
When Bendelladj was arrested at the Airport in Bangkok earlier this year, Hamza kept smiling – receiving additional nickname, “a smiling hacker”.
He was extradited from Thailand to the United States last Thursday to “to face charges of controlling and selling a nefarious computer virus designed to pry into computers and extract personal financial information,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman. “The indictment charges Bendelladj and his co-conspirators with operating servers designed to control the personal computers of unsuspecting individuals and aggressively marketing their virus to other international cyber-criminals intent on stealing sensitive information.”
The names of others accused co-conspirators in the same indictment are not disclosed by officials at this time.
What can you do to protect your business from getting hacked?
In Q&A with cyber crime expert Tim Francis, Tim recommends these specific risk management strategies
- Training employees to protect sensitive information
- Ensuring systems have appropriate firewall and antivirus technology and that security software patches are updated in a timely fashion
- Monitoring use of mobile devices and public Wi-Fi access for employees, and
- Having a plan in place to manage a cyber event if one takes place – sort of like a fire drill.
If your business needs assistance with identifying your computer network’s vulnerabilities, regular support and monitoring, as well as with implementation of these strategies, please give our office a call at 201-493-1414 – we provide computer services, Managed IT, business disaster recovery and backup service for New Jersey and New York area businesses since 1996.