8 arrests in computer virus case

By Dao Caoren (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-13 06:53

Police yesterday arrested eight suspects involved in producing and disseminating a severe computer virus, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Police said it was the first case related to the spreading of computer viruses in China.

Li Jun, a 25-year-old hacker from Wuhan, in Central China's Hubei Province, is accused of creating Xiongmao Shaoxiang (Panda burns joss-sticks), a worm that has hit millions of computers in the country since November 2006.

Li told police he programmed the virus on October 16, 2006, and made more than 100,000 yuan ($13,000) selling it to over 120 people via the Internet both himself and through agents.

The man has also created three other viruses, all of which have wrecked havoc on China's Internet communities.

Apart from Li, five of the other seven suspects, with an average age of 23, are accused of mutating and spreading various computer viruses including Xiongmao Shaoxiang.

Based in different areas of China including Shandong and Zhejiang provinces, these five major suspects are also charged with making illegal profits by stealing accounts of computer games on QQ, an online chatting tool equivalent to ICQ.

Xiongmao Shaoxiang, officially named Worm_Viking, is said to be the top computer killer of the past four months, according to the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center.

An infected computer will display a blue screen, go through frequent automatic restarts and lose hardware data. All its files are shown as a panda icon. The virus also features a Trojan horse program, which can steal the passwords of computer users.

Police began investigating the virus in the middle of January, with officers from more than 10 regions joining forces to crack the case.

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