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Kazakh heavy metal virusmonger avoids jail

Slapped wrist for axe man

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A former heavy metal guitarist has escaped jail after been convicted of running websites that distributed an estimated 4,000 different computer viruses.

Sergey Kazachkov, the former lead guitarist of Kazakhstan rockers DLM turned science student, received a two year suspended sentence after confessing to running a brace of virus exchange sites, along with creating malware himself.

A Russian court also imposed a one year probation order on the miscreant.

Some Russian reports claimed that Kazachkov, of Voronezh in central Russia, created the infamous PC-thrashing Chernobyl virus. However, as anti-virus firm Sophos points out, Kazachkov only offered Chernobyl as a download along with numerous other items of malicious code. The author of Chernobyl (AKA CIH) was Chen Ing-Hau, a Taiwanese student, who was arrested by police in 2000 but never prosecuted.

Kazachkov's prosecution has a local precedent. In November 2004, a member of the international 29A virus-writing group was convicted of creating the Stepan and Gastropod viruses. Eugene Suchkov, from the little-known Russian republic of Udmurtia, posted live code for the viruses alongside the source code necessary to create variants onto a number of underground virus exchange websites. Neither of these viruses spread. Eugene (AKA Whale) was fined 3,000 roubles (then equivalent to approximately $105). ®

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