British worm suspect seized by Scotland Yard and FBI

August 15, 2001 Sophos Press Release

Sophos, a world leader in corporate anti-virus protection, has welcomed the increasing co-operation between international computer crime units following the arrest of the suspected author of the "Leaves" computer worm.

Scotland Yard announced today that, in co-operation with the FBI, it arrested a British man in South London on July 23 on suspicion of breaking the Computer Misuse Act. If found guilty, he could face up to five years in prison.

The 24 year old, who has not been named, has been bailed to appear again at a London police station on September 24. Police authorities had kept the man's arrest secret until now to allow further international investigations.

The Leaves worm (also known as W32/Leave-A) first appeared in late June 2001, with some variants posing as a Microsoft security bulletin warning about a dangerous new virus. Users who download the patch will enable a backdoor into their home computers, making them vulnerable to hackers.

"Viruses do not recognise national boundaries; a computer in San Francisco could be taken down by a virus written by a youth in a London back bedroom," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "It is encouraging to see the US and UK authorities working together to help stamp out the virus threat."