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Hungarian virus writer avoids jail

Two years' probation for Laszlo K

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A Hungarian virus writer escaped prison yesterday after he was convicted of writing a virus that infected tens of thousands of Windows PCs. The teenager - identified only as Laszlo K - was given two years' probation for cybercrime offences by Veszprem City Court.

Hungarian daily Nepszabadsag reports, via AP, that Laszlo K was initially sentenced to a year in juvenile prison but this sentence was commuted to two years' on probation at a hearing yesterday. As part of his punishment, the teenage must also pay 500,000 forints ($2,400) in court costs.

Laszlo K created a worm - called Magold-A - that posed as pictures of Hungarian porn star Maya Gold. In reality, the worm disabled an infected machine's AV software and comprehensively messed with its settings. Among other things, Magold-A contained routines to cripple a user's mouse, open the CD-ROM drive tray or change the Windows colour scheme. Windows users duped into opening an infectious attachment might also expect their machine to start sending Hungarian text files to their default printer. Magold-A, which was first observed by AV firms in February, also randomly deleted image files from a user's hard disk. The worm spread through email, IRC channels, P2P networks and across network shares.

Investigators had an easy job tracking down the hapless VXer - he used his own email address to send out an initial batch of infectious emails. In case that wasn't enough, Laszlo K also included his name and the post code of his home (in the town of Ajka, southern Hungary) in viral code, AP reports. ®

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