Belgian police arrest female virus writer

Gigabyte busted

A 19 year-old female technology student suspected of being the infamous virus writer Gigabyte was arrested by Belgian police last weekend.

The woman was charged with computer data sabotage offences, Belgian daily La Libre Belgique reports. Her alleged crimes are punishable by up to three years in prison and fines of up to €100,000.

Police confiscated five of the teenager's computers and shut down her Web site. The 19 year-old, from Mechelen (30 kilometres north of Brussels), was released on bail pending further police inquiries.

"She was preparing to publish new viruses on this site," Belgian Police Inspector Olivier Bogaert told La Libre Belgique.

Through her gender and youth, Gigabyte stands out among the virus writing underground. She is credited with writing the first virus to use Microsoft's C# language.

She was also well known for frquent run-ins with ubiquitous AV spokesman Graham Cluley over his sociological analysis of virus writers. In anti-virus circles, Cluley is well-known for describing virus writers (VXers) in less than flattering terms, once memorably saying they only wrote malicious code because they were spotty teenage nerds who couldn't pull. Gigabyte took exception to remarks like this, even going as far as writing viral code that mocked Cluley.

According to TechTV, Gigabyte began programming aged only six years-old. Gigabyte reportedly began writing computer worms aged just 14 but has always maintained she only did this for "research purposes" and that she never released viruses herself. ®

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