Police in New Zeland are questioning an 18-year-old suspected of being part of an international team of cyber hackers that infected and disabled more than 1.3 million computers in the U.S. and the Netherlands last year.
The network is alleged to have infiltrated over a million computers, planting files to control computers remotely. The man, known by his online handle, AKILL, is also suspected of skimming millions of dollars from people's bank accounts.
``We've seized a number of computers and our investigations are focusing on the one seized from the 18-year-old,'' Detective Inspector Peter Devoy said in an interview from the North Island city of Hamilton, where the man lives. ``It just goes to show when you step into the cyber world it knows no boundaries.''
Police allege that he was the ringleader of a underground cybe rnetwork that disseminated viruses and other malicious software to unsuspecting computers, turning them into a so-called botnet - a group of computers that can be remotely controlled as if they were robots.
AKILL was the alleged designer of these viruses, building specialized encryption techniques to block its detection.
In this global hacking spree, the FBI estimates that 1.3 million computers were infiltrated and infected and more than US$25m (Â£12.5m) was illegally embezzled.
The 18-year-old was arrested in New Zealand's North Island city of Hamilton. He is now co-operating with the police and apparently telling them just how this high-tech scam worked.
He could face charges which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.