Police in Argentina say they have arrested an alleged 19-year-old hacker suspected of leading a network specialising in fraud and complex financial transactions that led to security breaches at numerous websites.
The youth, whose identity has not been revealed, is the son of an information systems engineer. He was initially detained at his home in Buenos Aires in July during Operation Zombie, which included five raids in the capital and the city of Rosario, about 190 miles north, the Security Ministry said.
Experts believe the "super-hacker" diverted about 50,000 dollars (£31,600) a month to his bank account, using the "technological cave" he assembled at his home. Police have seized sophisticated computers and other technological equipment.
Officials identified six more people who were involved in the criminal network.
Operation Zombie began in 2012, when a businessman who offered hosting services for personal web pages on his servers said a hacker was remotely entering the servers to intercept monetary transfers.
Former criminal lawyer Graciela Gils Carbo, now Argentina's chief prosecutor, ordered the federal police to begin an investigation that uncovered that the same person was stealing from money transfer and online game sites.
"Internet users were victims of a 'malware' virus that the hacker hosted in a server for downloading online gaming applications," said a ministry statement.
To complete the job and avoid alerting victims to an illegal money transfer, the suspected hacker carried out a "denial of service" manoeuvre that used a network of thousands of "zombie" computers to saturate the platform for payments so users could not access their accounts around the time of the attack.