Algerian Man Pleads Not Guilty to SpyEye Software Charges

An Algerian national who U.S. prosecutors say is part of the cybercrime group behind a powerful hacking software known as SpyEye pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.

Hamza Bendelladj, known for years in underground computer forums as Bx1, didn’t request bond and will remain in custody, said his attorney, Wilmer Parker. Parker declined to comment on why his client didn’t seek release on bond at today’s hearing in federal court in Atlanta.

Prosecutors have opposed bond, saying Bendelladj is a flight risk.

Bendelladj, 24, was accused in a 23-count indictment unsealed May 1 of crimes including computer and bank fraud. Bendelladj is accused of playing a role in selling and supporting SpyEye, which allows hackers to hijack victims’ bank accounts through their own computers.

Bendelladj was extradited from Thailand at the request of U.S. authorities after his arrest there on Jan. 5.

Prosecutors allege Bendelladj sold the SpyEye hacking software and designed modules that enhanced its effectiveness. The software can be customized to circumvent the security of banks’ websites. Once a computer is infected with SpyEye, hackers can use it to take over online banking sessions and transfer money to accounts they control.

It can also be programmed to automatically steal passwords to e-commerce sites and scrape credit card numbers and expiration dates.

Bendelladj, who is also accused in the indictment of supporting hacking operations by providing servers to control the hijacked computers, is a close associate of SpyEye’s creator, a hacker known by the nickname “gribodemon,” according to security experts who helped track the group.

The case is U.S. v. Bendelladj, 1:11-cr-00557, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta).

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