Wed, Nov 08, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Chilean authorities arrest four hackers after global probe

AP , SANTIAGO

Chilean police arrested four suspected computer hackers accused of being part of an international group that has broken into thousands of government Web sites around the globe in recent years.

Police chief Gerardo Raventos said on Monday that the group was responsible for "infiltrating" more than 8,000 sites, including some run by the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Turkey, the US and Venezuela.

Raventos said the suspects even hacked into the site of the US space agency NASA. He did not say, however, if the hackers vandalized Web pages or stole information.

"The investigation continues to determine what the intentions of these people were," he added.

The suspects were members of an international hackers group identified as the "Byond" team and had been under investigation for eight months with the cooperation of authorities in the US, Israel and several South American countries, Raventos said.

One of the suspects, as he arrived at police headquarters, shouted to reporters that the group had acted "for fun."

That sentiment was echoed by Raventos, who said the suspects were apparently motivated primarily by mischief.

"These people did not act seeking money, but just for fun," he said. "There is a big `ego' element involved here."

He said they were caught "because they made some technical mistakes," but did not elaborate.

Raventos identified suspect Leonardo Hernandez, 23, as the Chilean hackers' leader. Hernandez was known in cyberspace as Nettoxic and is wanted in several countries, he added.

Another suspect was identified as Carlos Amigo, known online as SSH-2. The other two, twin brothers who were not named because they under 18, used the handles Codiux and Phnx, Raventos said.

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