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15 Sep 2000

CIH virus author finally detained

Chen Ing-Hau
Chen Ing-Hau, the author of the CIH virus.

Chen Ing-Hau, the author of the infamous CIH virus, has been detained by authorities in Taiwan.

The virus, which triggers on the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, caused over $250 million damage in South Korea alone last year, infecting a quarter of a million computers according to government reports.

Chen Ing-Hau was initially questioned by military authorities in Taiwan in April 1999, but escaped punishment because, extraordinarily, there had been no complaints from Taiwanese companies. He subsequently won a job at a software company on the back of his infamy.

A Taiwanese student who was hit by the virus when it struck again in April of this year has now filed charges against Chen Ing-Hau, prompting his arrest. If found guilty he could face up to three years in jail under destruction charges.

"It is encouraging to see the authorities in Taiwan take the damage caused by viruses such as CIH seriously," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "This sends a strong message to virus writers that they will not escape punishment for their actions. IT companies should also realise that virus writers must not be rewarded for their efforts with lucrative jobs. They may think they are getting a computer 'genius', in fact they are merely employing someone with the inclination and ability to write relatively simple yet highly destructive code."

For more information on CIH virus visit Sophos Virus analyses: W95/CIH-10xx.

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