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Sheffield man, 37, allegedly wrote viruses too

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Police last week arrested a 37-year-old man from Sheffield on suspicion of hacking into the website of London dating agency loveandfriends.com. The unnamed suspect allegedly hacked into the site, took control of a small number of member's profiles (which were defaced), and made demands for payment in exchange for holding off on threats to delete the firm's database.

Andy MacCabe, managing director of loveandfriends, said the attacker only had member level access to four profiles with weak passwords. The hacker did not at any time gain access to the loveandfriends database or webservers despite threats to the contrary. The financial data of loveandfriends members is processed by a seperate system and was never at risk, the firm said in a statement to members. After appeals to the alleged hacker's better nature fell on deaf ears, loveandfriends.com reported the attack to police.

Working with loveandfriends.com, officers from the Computer Crime Unit at Scotland Yard traced the suspect to his home in Sheffield, where they executed a search warrant on Friday, 1 April. Met police officers seized the suspect's computers and recovered evidence that he was responsible for writing the Mirsa-A and Mirsa-B mass mailing worms, which posed as messages from campaign group Fathers 4 Justice.

The suspect was arrested for computer hacking offences (contrary to section three of the Computer Misuse Act 1990), interviewed and released on police bail pending further enquiries and analysis of his computer. ®

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