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Canadian, 16, on Randex worm rap

Mounties slap cuffs on suspected author

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Canadian police have charged a 16 year-old youth with writing and distributing the damaging computer worm Randex.

The teenager from Mississauga, near Toronto, faces "mischief and fraudulent use of a computer" charges. Canadian authorities have withheld the suspect's name because he is a juvenile.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators reckon Randex infected more than 9,000 computers shortly after the first versions of the worm appeared last November.

According to anti-virus firm Sophos, more than 20 versions of Randex are circulating. Randex variants are generally network worms with backdoor capabilities which allows a remote intruder to access and control the computer via IRC channels. This network of zombie PCs can be used to distribute spam or as a platform to launch DDoS attacks.

The Canadian courts have dealt with a high-profile computer crime case involving a teenager before. Denial of service attacks against eBay, Yahoo and Buy.com back in 2000 were traced back to Mafiaboy, a 17-year-old from Montreal, Canada.

Mafiaboy was sentenced to eight months in a youth detention centre after pleading guilty to 50 counts of "mischief to data". ®

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