Who Is The ‘Happy Hacker’?

By Cameron Scott 

Alleged cyber-criminal Hamza Bendelladj was arrested in Bangkok earlier this week, after the FBI reportedly tipped off local law enforcement.

But all the 24-year-old Algerian could do at the arraignment and the press conference that followed was smile.

If you’d made off with $100 million, you’d smile too.

Bendelladj is allegedly the mastermind behind Zeus malware, one of the most successful and destructive bits of malicious code in history. The malware captured users’ banking information, allowing hackers to use automatic transfers to take money from their accounts.

“With just one transaction, he could earn 10 to 20 million dollars. He’s been traveling the world flying first-class and living a life of luxury,” Thai police Lt. Gen. Phanu Kerdlabphol told reporters.

Bendelladj’s aliases allegedly include Daniel and bx1.

Security researcher Brian Krebs says a hacker using the handle bx1 contacted him in Internet chat rooms several times to brag about his exploits.

“The Daniel I chatted with was proud of his work, and seemed to enjoy describing successful attacks,” he wrote.

As for being arrested in the airport that is the single most popular place on Instagram, Bendelladj was on his way from Malaysia to Cairo.

Image via Bangkok Post