BEIJING - The trial of the author of the notorious computer virus "Xiongmao Shaoxiang", or "Panda burning joss stick", that crippled millions of computers nationwide began in Central China's Hubei Province on Monday, according to the People's Court of Xiantao City.
Li Jun, 25, and three others all in their twenties, stand accused of writing the virus, spreading it through the Internet and causing huge damage to millions of computer users from November 2006 to March 2007.
Police say the four defendants raked in more than 200,000 yuan (about US$ 27,000) by selling the virus.
The virus, which infects program files and flashes up an image of a panda holding three joss sticks, can also steal the account names and passwords of online game players and popular chat sites. It was listed as the worst computer virus last year by China's leading anti-virus company Rising.
After he was arrested, Li wrote a program that could remove the virus earlier this year.
The latest computer virus report conducted by Rising company showed that a total of 133,717 new viruses affected the Chinese mainland in the first half of 2007.
With an estimated 162 million netizens by the end of this June, China is in urgent need of legislation on cyber crimes, experts say.
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