Depending on who you ask, Hamza Bendelladj is either a Robin Hood-esque hero or a cyber-age hoodlum.
The 27-year-old Algerian computer science graduate was sentenced in a US court for using a computer virus to steal money from more than 200 American banks and financial institutions. He then reportedly gave millions of dollars to Palestinian charities.
Bendelladj, who is alleged to be the co-creator of a banking trojan horse called SpyEye, was indicted in absentia by US authorities in 2011. The program - a malware toolkit that saw its popularity peak between 2009 and 2011 - is believed to have infected more than 1.4 million computers in the US and elsewhere, according to Wired, a San Francisco-based technology magazine. The software enabled users to steal login information for online financial accounts, which they then pillaged.
American law enforcement officers identified Bendelladj when he allegedly sold a copy of the SpyEye virus to an undercover officer for $8,500.
Despite his admission of guilt, Bendellaj's supporters continue to hack various websites across the world, including, of late, Air France and a Virginia-based university, calling for his release using the hashtags #FreeHamzaBendellaj and #FreePalestine.
This Algerian Hacker Hacked 217 American Banks and Donated 4000 MILLION USD to Palestine4.55SEEKER Wednesday, 16 March 2016 Depending on who you ask, Hamza Bendelladj is either a Robin Hood-esque hero or a cyber-age hoodl...