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Spanish firm raided in logic-bomb backdoor probe

Auto-fail programming alleged

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Three managers at an unnamed Spanish software developer have been arrested over allegations they planted 'logic bombs' in software that meant clients were obliged to pay for disruptive repairs and extended maintenance contracts.

The Guardia Civil said that more than 1,000 clients of the Andalucia-based developer were affected by the scam since 1998. The unnamed firm sold marketed custom software to small and medium-sized businesses with built-in errors such that it was guaranteed to fail at a predetermined date.

These errors would "paralyse the normal functioning of businesses" and oblige customers to contact their supplier, who would hit them for repair fees and extended support. In the course of making repairs, the developer allegedly programmed systems to fail again at a future date.

An anonymous web-based tip-off led to a Guardia Civil investigation and a subsequent raid on the firm's premises, where computer equipment and records were seized for analysis. The investigation - codenamed Operation Cordoba - is been led by the Guardia Civil's hi-tech division in cooperation with local police in Cordoba, Spanish daily El Pais adds. ®

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