Feeds

Japanese malware author admits guilt

Movie-munch miscreant on trial for copyright infringement

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A Japanese man has confessed to creating a data-destroying Trojan horse.

Masato Nakatsuji, 24, admitted in Kyoto District Court that he wrote a Trojan horse that incorporated copyrighted animation footage as a lure. The booby trapped file was distributed via the controversial Winny filesharing system in Japan last year.

Surfers who fell for the bait and opened the file risked finding their Windows PC infected with malware, identified by anti-virus firms as the Pirlames Trojan, that wiped music and movie files from compromised systems.

Two other men were also arrested alongside Nakatsuji, but are yet to stand trial

Nakatsuji admitted writing the malware during the first day of his trial on Tuesday, where he faces charges of copyright infringement and defaming an acquaintance by embedding his photograph within the malicious code. Oddly, he isn't being tried for virus writing.

Nakatsuji's defence team argues that the malware created by Nakatsuji caused little damage and that the interests of justice would not be served by imprisoning the graduate student for distributing a Trojan horse when there were no specific laws against it, English language Japanese daily The Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

Security watchers say Japan ought to consider drafting specific legislation clearly outlawing virus creation, currently something of a grey area in Japanese law. This legislative gap is unlikely to help Nakatsuji.

"If he is found guilty, the general public are unlikely to worry that it was his ill-advised choice of graphics which got him into legal trouble rather than virus-writing," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

The Pirlames Trojan is far from the first time the Winny filesharing network has been linked to malware-related security snafus. In May 2006, a virus was blamed for leaking power plant secrets via Winny for the second time in four months.

A month earlier, a Japanese anti-virus company was embarrassingly forced to concede that internal documents and customer information were leaked onto Winny after one of its workers failed to install anti-virus software.

Nakatsuji himself is in much the same trouble as Isamu Kaneko, the author of the Winny filesharing program. Kaneko was also charged with copyright violation in a case that ultimately resulted in a fine.

The case against Nakatsuji continues. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.