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Venezuelan Teen Detained in Hacking Case

A 17-year-old has been detained by Venezuelan authorities after hacking into multiple government Web sites and posting playful photos of President Hugo Chavez and his close ally, Cuba's Fidel Castro.

The boy modified 23 Web sites -- including those of the vice president's office, the National Guard and the investigative police -- in late December, said Oswaldo Guevara, the investigative police's head of computer-related crimes.

He appended his hacker name -- "J41ber" -- and home telephone number on the photo postings and other cosmetic changes made to the home pages, and the modifications included photomontages of Chavez and Castro, Guevara said.

Local media reported the boy, who was living in a poor neighborhood in western Carabobo state, was hoping his actions would win him a job with the private telecommunications company hosting the Web sites.

But Guevara said he believed the boy, who was enrolled in an introductory computer science course, had more malicious intentions.

The hacking forced the immigration office, which handles passports and residency permits, to close its Web site for 24 hours. But all the Web sites were now back to normal, no permanent damage was done and the boy never accessed sensitive data, Guevara said.

Guevara said it is only the second time that a hacker has been arrested in Venezuela. The first was in 2003, when a hacker was caught breaking into a secure, private Web site, he said.

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