Suspected Islamist hacker detained in Bulgaria

The Internet's economic impact has doubled since 2007 and now fuels at least six percent of the overall US economy, a study shows (AFP Photo/Greg Wood)

Sofia (AFP) - A man suspected of belonging to a network of Islamist hackers responsible for attacks on more than 3,500 websites worldwide was arrested in Bulgaria, the interior ministry announced Wednesday.

The man, whose identity was not revealed, was part of a group using the acronym MECA (Middle East Cyber Army), the ministry said.

Members are accused of changing websites' content and posting messages in English and Arabic praising the deadly gun attack on staff of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January, the interior ministry said.

The public BNR radio quoted official sources as saying the detained suspect was a 21-year-old student from Syria who has been living in Bulgaria with his parents for more than 20 years.

According to the ministry statement, he "communicated with other members of the group through secure channels, mapping out targets and exchanging hacking instruments."