Teen Nabbed for $26M 'Net Heist

18-year-old Kiwi's ring robbed IDs with 'spybot' program
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2007 5:39 PM CST
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(Newser) – The computer ace behind a $26 million worldwide identity theft heist is only 18, police said today, after nabbing New Zealander Owen Whyte. The teen allegedly wrote a ‘spybot’ program which stole financial data from more than a million computers. Police called him “one of the most skilled people in the world [at writing] this sort of malicious software.”

Cops referred to the suspect by his hacker handle “AKILL” because he committed alleged crimes as a minor, but the Herald reports that Whyte already worked as a computer programmer, winning rave reviews, until the probe got him fired. He is currently cooperating with police, but faces 10 years if convicted.