Hamza Bendelladj case: a second judicial round in sight

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Hamza Bendelladj case: a second judicial round in sight

The legal troubles of Hamza Bendelladj in France are not over, just learned ZDNET.fr . The Paris prosecutor’s office has indeed appealed against the relaxation of BX1, the nickname of this famous Algerian hacker, an appeal that concerns all the offenses prosecuted. The prosecution had ten days to request a new trial before the Paris Court of Appeal, the date of which is currently unknown.

Sentenced in the United States in 2016 to fifteen years in prison for his involvement in the SpyEye banking Trojan, Hamza Bendelladj is accused by the French justice system of having launched from his cell ransomware attacks against Hexagonal organizations with PyLocky, a fairly minimalist ransomware of about 200 lines of code in Python.

Judicial shipwreck

His trial, at the end of August, had turned into a wreck for the prosecution. After about seven hours of hearing devoted to the examination of a request for dismissal, nullities and two priority issues of constitutionality, the case had been judged in a few minutes, resulting in a spectacular relaxation of the defendant.

While the judges had just begun to look at the merits of the case, Hamza Bendelladj, appearing on the screen in a prisoner’s green outfit, was surprised by an error in the summons to appear. This one mistakenly mentioned JobCrypter, a malicious software yet foreign to the procedure.

Hardware error

“The robbery of a Leclerc, it is not that of a Crossroads”, had summarized after the hearing the two lawyers of BX1, Me Raphaël Chiche and Jérémie Nataf. The prosecutor’s office had admitted a “material error“ on the name of the ransomware, while assuring that this mention was ”superfetatory”, a way of minimizing the scope of this blunder.

Hamza Bendelladj had found himself in the crosshairs of investigators from the brigade for the fight against cybercrime (BL2C) of the Paris police prefecture at the end of 2018, a few months after the first attacks. The police officers had successfully taken an interest in the sending server, located in France, for spam email campaigns, the vector for spreading ransomware.

Before then refining their investigations thanks to open source searches and the discovery of compromising elements, such as these IP addresses located in Forrest City, in the United States, one of the prisons where BX1 was detained. During a first hearing in May 2023 before the French justice system, the hacker had claimed to have “nothing to do” with these computer hacks.

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