By Lee Rondganger
July 03 2008
For more than two years, Alistair Peterson headed an elaborate online
He was the thorn in the side of South Africa's four giant banks whose
top cyber experts were left red-faced every time he hacked through
several security features and accessed their "secure" banking accounts.
In a single day on December 24 2005 he swiped R9,8-million from the
account of a government department. It was his first hack ever.
When he was eventually caught two years and two months later he had
stashed R17-million in a bank account in Swaziland.
Peterson says he never took money from the personal accounts of
individuals - his targets were always big business, trust funds and
"I never needed the money, I was a software architect for a computer
company where I was earning R80 000 a month. What I was doing was just
for fun. It was the thrill of being able to do it," he said.
Because of the complex structure of the syndicate, Peterson got only a
quarter of what they stole - and that was if his "e-mules" didn't
double-cross him and run off with all the money.
Peterson - who has a BSc degree in computer sciences from Rand Afrikaans
University - developed a virus called Regger.W32, which he programmed to
maliciously spread itself from computer to computer, installing spyware
as it went along.
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