Minor arrested in connection with RPC Spybot worm

October 02, 2003 Sophos Press Release

The US Department of Justice has announced that a juvenile was arrested in late September in connection with the release of a computer worm that spread in the same way as the Blaster worm.

The W32/RpcSpybot-A worm exploited a flaw in Microsoft's Windows operating system, in an attempt to break into vulnerable computers.

John McKay, US Attorney for the Western District of Washington said in a statement that the virus author was right to be apprehended, regardless of their age. "Computer hackers need to understand that they will be pursued and held accountable for malicious activity, whether they be adults or juveniles," he said.

"An increasing number of worms are exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft's software," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Computer users need to put in place a system for ensuring they are up-to-date with all security patches. Meanwhile, anyone considering writing malicious code should think very carefully about the possible legal consequences."

The arrest follows a series of other developments in the battle between the computer crime authorities and suspected virus authors. Recently a man in Romania was charged in connection with the W32/Blaster-F worm, and a youth from Minneapolis pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with W32/Blaster-B. Meanwhile, two British men have appeared in court regarding a Trojan horse.

The Justice Department said that the juvenile, whose name and gender had not been released because of his or her age, was arrested on Friday 26 September.