Japanese Police Bust Virus Writer

    January 25, 2008

Police in Kyoto have arrested three men, who were involved in a plot to infect users of the P2P file-sharing network Winny with a Trojan horse that displayed images of anime characters while erasing music and movie files.

The malware called Harada is thought to be connected to the Pirlames Trojan horse which anti-spam firm Sophos reported blocking in Japan last year. The three men have admitted they took part in the crime. One man wrote the malware, while the other two are thought to have distributed the malicious code through Winny.

"It isn’t illegal to write viruses in Japan, so the author of the Trojan horse has been arrested for breaching copyright because he used cartoon graphics without permission in his malware. Because this is the first arrest in Japan of a virus writer it’s likely to generate a lot of attention and there may be calls for cybercrime laws to be made tighter," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"Malware is truly a global menace, impacting on every user of the Internet, and it is good to see police around the world doing their bit to tackle the problem."

Some computers infected with Harada displayed a message saying, "You’re already dead. Come here. And apologize to me. If you don’t, this PC will self-destruct."