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The suspected author of the Phatbot Trojan was released on bail last Friday after spending a week in custody. German authorities arrested the 21-year-old coder - named only as Alex G in local reports - from Waldshut in southern Germany on 7 May at the same time as the author of the Sasser worm, 18 year-old Sven Jaschan. Police said the two operations were co-ordinated but unrelated.

Emails from the suspect showed he wanted to leave Germany to avoid military service. This, combined with the seriousness of computer sabotage charges he faced, led police to initially oppose bail. Police have now relented after the suspect agreed to surrender his identity papers and report regularly to police.

Phatbot is a variant of Agobot, a big family of IRC bots, which can be used to steal personal information or seize control of infected machines. Since debuting in October 2002, source code for the Agobot has been distributed on the Internet and hundreds of versions have been created. ®

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