Feeds

Japanese malware author admits guilt

Movie-munch miscreant on trial for copyright infringement

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
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'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.