Dutchmen hack into 1.5 million PCs

First posted 05:53am (Mla time) Oct 21, 2005
Agence France-Presse

THE HAGUE -- Three young Dutch hackers got into 1.5 million computers around the world, stealing private banking codes, the state attorney's department announced Thursday.

The men, aged 19, 22 and 27, were arrested on October 4 when the authorities said more than 100,000 computers had been accessed in what was described as the biggest hacker network yet to be uncovered.

The hackers are alleged to have stolen the access codes of individual private customers of Paypal, the secure payment system of the Internet auction eBay.

The three have been charged with implanting a trojan or major virus called Toxbot in badly protected personal computers.

The virus had acted like an innocent program, enabling the hackers to control an army of "zombies."

Zombies are personal computers controlled remotely by hackers without the knowledge of their owners.

Most of the victims had been private individuals but a United States company, whose name was not made public, was also targeted.