Officers of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) are
interviewing two UK men, a 19-year-old electrician from Darlington
and an unemployed 21-year-old from Durham, in connection with a
Trojan horse troubling internet users.
The interviews follow searches of two properties in County
Durham. Evidence is said to have been retrieved related to computer
and drugs offences.
Meanwhile, the US multi-agency CATCH team (Computer and
Technology Crime Hi-Tech Response Team) based in Southern
California conducted a simultaneous search of an address in
Champaign, Illinois, USA. A 17-year-old youth living at the address
is being questioned by authorities.
The CATCH team consists of representatives from the Riverside
County Sheriff's Department, Riverside County District Attorney's
Office, United States Secret Service, Department of Justice, and
the FBI among others.
According to the NHTCU the two UK-based men may be members of an
international hacking group called the "Thr34t Krew". According to
a press release issued by the NHTCU the hacking gang created a
Trojan horse, called Troj/TKBot-A or "TK
Worm", which infected a number of computers in the UK and caused an
estimated £5.5 million worth of damage.
Sophos researchers believe that Trojan exploits a vulnerability
that is found on some Microsoft IIS web servers. Microsoft has
released a patch that reportedly eliminates the vulnerability. It
is available from Microsoft's website at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS00-078.asp.
Just last month British virus writer Simon Vallor was sentenced to two years in
prison for writing three viruses reported to have infected
27,000 computers in 42 countries.
"Computer crime authorities around the world are getting better
at working together and more sophisticated in tackling those
determined to disrupt legitimate computer use," said Graham Cluley,
senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "This is not
the first time police have co-operated across the Atlantic to
investigate alleged hackers and virus writers, and it won't be the
"Hacking and virus writing are serious crimes. They are costing
UK firms millions of pounds in lost business and downtime. Our task
is to track down those people who seek to hamper companies by
reducing their ability to do business," said Detective
Superintendent Mick Deats, Deputy Head of the NHTCU.