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Blaster-F suspect charged with cybercrime

Admits modifying worm code

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A 24-year-old man suspected of releasing a relatively tame variant of the Blaster worm has been charged with cybercrime offences by Romanian police.

If found guilty, Dan Dumitru Ciobanu could face a maximum of 15 years in prison under Romania's strict new computer crime laws.

According to police, Ciobanu has admitted spreading Blaster-F, but claims that its release was accidental. Unlike the original worm, AV vendors describe Blaster-F as "low spreading and low risk".

Ciobanu reportedly claimed that the virus spread itself only because he tested it while his computer was connected to the Internet.

"He has been charged with illegal and major disturbing of informatics systems and for holding illegal software," Liviu Zamfirescu, a police officer from the suspect's home city of Iasi in Northern Romania, told Reuters.

According to a police statement, Ciobanu admitted that he modified the original Blaster worm by switching filenames used by the virus, and inserting a piece of Romanian text into the code. The text, when translated into English, reads:

Don't go to the Hydrotechnics faculty!!! You are wasting your time... Birsan, your pension awaits!!! I urinate on the diploma!!!!!!

"Some people may think only 'geniuses' are capable of writing viruses, however this is far from the truth," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "In the past we have seen some virus writers include their full name, address and job history inside their malicious code. If Ciobanu is found to be guilty, the vital clue may have been that a childish rant against a university lecturer was there for all to see."

Ciobanu has been released from custody, and no date has been set for his trial.

In late August the FBI arrested Jeffrey Lee Parson in connection with another variant, B, of the Blaster worm.

The author of the original Blaster worm remains at large. ®

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