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10 Apr 2006

Hacker extradited from Argentina faces up to 40 years in jail

Behind bars
José Manuel García Rodríguez could be jailed for up to 40 years.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have welcomed the news that authorities have extradited from Argentina a man who is suspected of hacking hundreds of thousands of euros from bank accounts.

José Manuel García Rodríguez was arrested in July 2005 in Carcarañá, Argentina, where he was known to inhabitants as "el Gordo España" (the fat Spaniard). On Friday he arrived at Madrid's Barajas airport on a flight from Buenas Aires, accompanied by two Interpol officers.

"García Rodríguez is accused of being Spain's biggest ever hacker, and could face a sentence of up to 40 years in prison if the charges against him are proven," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "It's encouraging to see international authorities working closely together across continents to bring computer criminals to justice. If found guilty, el Gordo España could soon be on a prison diet of bread and water."

24-year-old García Rodríguez, who is said to have used the pseudonym "Tasmania" in hacking circles, fled Spain two years ago, having been accused of stealing online banking passwords and breaking into accounts. Nine international arrest warrants have been issued for his detention.

"Criminals are stealing fortunes from online bank accounts, and all internet users need to be properly protected to ensure that their confidential passwords and usernames are not falling into the hands of hackers," continued Cluley

Sophos recommends companies protect their email with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus and spam threats and secure their desktops and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.