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Suspected hacking mastermind on 'most wanted' list

The first man in the US to be indicted for launching denial-of-service attacks has made the FBI's 'most wanted' list after going on the run

The FBI has added a new kind of criminal to its most wanted list -- a man on the run accused of hiring hackers to damage the businesses of his competitors.

According to the FBI Web site, Saad (Jay) Echouafni, who is listed with the likes of armed robbers, bombers and drug dealers, is said to have caused damage ranging from $200,000 to more than $1m.

The authorities currently believe he could have fled to Morocco, his home country.

Thirty-five year old Echouafni, who was the head of a satellite reseller company called Orbit Communications, is wanted on computer intrusion charges for allegedly hiring hackers to launch attacks against the company's competitors.

A Los Angeles court indicted Echouafni in August this year after a police investigation called Operation Cyberslam. The court heard a digital recorder salesman complain that his Web site had been hit by DDoS attacks for two weeks.

Security company F-Secure archived a copy of the now redundant Orbit Communications Web site, which displayed a message from Echouafni that read: "Even as you read this message, breakthroughs are being made every day that will make life easier for us all."