Earlier this week, police in Spain arrested 19-year-old José Luis Huertas, one of the country’s most prolific hackers, after a nearly two-year investigation. One of the ways police say they were able to track him down was that he lived a “life of luxury inappropriate for someone his age and without work activity.”
Bleeping Computer reports that the hacker, known as “Alcasec,” was responsible for several cyberattacks in Spain, such as breaching government networks, stealing the data of 575,000 taxpayers, and creating a search engine called “Udyat” to sell the data to other hackers.
Spanish police say they were able to track Huertas with the help of the National Cryptological Center to link him to transactions despite his use of cryptocurrency mixing services to hide his identity.
Alcasec’s hacking exploits began as early as age 15 when he hacked into Burger King’s ordering system and “forced a shop in Madrid to give away free hamburgers to customers,” according to the newspaper SUR. He also once hacked HBO and gave away 150,000 free accounts on his Instagram, earning a reputation as a “Robin Hood” hacker. Bleeping Computer also says that Alcasec was accused of impersonating media mogul Paolo Vasile and stealing 300,000 euros from him.
In a statement, the Spanish National Police called Alcasec a “very serious threat to national security” and an expert in “crypto assets and hiding funds.” He once boasted on YouTube that he had “access to information of 90% of Spanish citizens,” according to the police.
A search of Alcasec’s home found “large amount of cash, numerous documents, effects and computer media that are being analyzed by investigators.” Police say he “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.”
Huertas will remain in custody until his trial as the judge in his case considers him a flight risk due to his potential wealth of undisclosed cryptocurrency. Investigators added that he could escape or destroy evidence if released before his trial date.