Spanish cops have arrested a 19-year-old suspected of stealing records belonging to half a million taxpayers and developing a database to sell stolen information to other cyber criminals.
José Luis Huertas, better known as Alcasec, has been described as the “Robin Hood hacker” and a “dangerous computer criminal.”
According to Spain’s National Police, who use the latter descriptor, Huertas has committed several high-profile attacks. This includes impersonating and stealing 300,000 euros (£260,000, $330,000) from Paolo Vasile, who was until last year the CEO of media and telly corporation Gestevisión Telecinco/Mediaset España.
“This subject, despite his youth, was an expert in crypto assets and hiding funds,” and his platform “represented a serious threat to National Security due to the magnitude of its cyber attacks and the sensitive data it handled,” according to the cops.
Spanish police also shared a video of Huertas’s arrest on Twitter:
🚩Detenido en #Madrid un peligroso delincuente informático que realizó un #ciberataque al #CGPJ junto con otras graves intrusiones en instituciones públicasSuponía una amenaza grave a la #SeguridadNacional y es considerado experto en #criptoactivos y ocultación de fondos pic.twitter.com/mUZj04Mecw
— Policía Nacional (@policia) April 3, 2023
Huertas gained the “Robin Hood” reputation from his early activities, including his alleged intrusion of Burger King’s network and making the in-store kiosks give away free food. That was when he was 15, it’s claimed, and his actions have grown far more serious since.
Spanish police started investigating Huertas in November 2022 following a cyber attack against the general council of the Euro nation’s judiciary. After allegedly breaching that national agency, he used this access to break into other government networks, including that of Spain’s tax agency, it is claimed.
During this intrusion Huertas allegedly stole citizens’ personal data and bank account numbers in addition to other sensitive information. Later, he reportedly bragged about it on a YouTube video, claiming he had “access to information of 90 percent of Spanish citizens.” He has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, where he is regarded as something of a rock star.
Huertas also allegedly built a platform named Udyat the Eye of Horus – a reference to the Egyptian symbol of power and protection – to sell the stolen data.
Following Huertas’s arrest, police also searched his home and seized a “large amount of cash,” a motorcycle, a “high-end vehicle,” documents, and computer equipment.
According to law enforcement, Huertas monetized his illicit deeds using cryptocurrency – mixing services to obfuscate the ill-gotten funds.
And with these illegal earnings, Huertas “led a life of luxury inappropriate for someone his age and without work activity: he made expensive trips, wore exclusive brands, frequented fashionable leisure and restaurant venues, and even drove a high-speed vehicle,” the police said. ®