Teen collected $50,000 a month managing sophisticated cybercrime ring

Entertainment // Financial Services // Web Services

Police cut off power to the 19-year-old youth’s neighborhood to prevent the loss of potential evidence on his computers, the BBC reports.

He is suspected of heading a hacker gang that commandeered unwitting victims’ computers to execute financial transactions at numerous websites.

According to the Associated Press, the teenager, who lives in Argentina, is the son of an information systems engineer. He was initially detained at his home in July as part of “Operation Zombie,” a reference to the term for computers that are hijacked to commit crimes.

The "super-hacker" diverted about $50,000 a month to his bank account, using the "technological cave" he assembled at his home. Officials identified six other people involved in the criminal network.

Operation Zombie began in 2012, when a businessman who offered hosting services for personal websites on his servers said that a hacker was remotely entering the servers to intercept monetary transfers.

Investigators discovered that the same person was stealing from the money transfer and online game sites.

To avoid tipping off victims, the hacker carried out a "denial of service" attack that harnessed a network of thousands of zombie computers to flood payment portals with useless traffic, so users could not access their accounts around the time of the hacks. 

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves.