Police claim more than 9000 computers infected
The Technological Crime Unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (RCMP) have charged a 16-year-old youth in connection with
computer worm. PCs belonging to the youth are believed to have been
seized, and a computer forensics team have analysed them for
The youth, who lives in the area of Mississauga, near Toronto,
is believed to have created the many different versions of the
Randex worm which first appeared in the middle of 2003. According
to the RCMP, more than 9000 computers were infected by the
"New versions of the Randex worm have been spreading and causing
mischief for about a year now. Viruses are not harmless pranks;
they cause real harm disrupting business and personal
communications as well as destroying and stealing sensitive data.
The Randex worms were no different, indiscriminately infecting
innocent computer users," said Graham Cluley, senior technology
consultant for Sophos. "Computer crime authorities around the world
are better equipped than ever at hunting down the perpetrators of
hacking and virus crimes. Virus writers should be asking themselves
whether it's really worth taking the risk."
The Randex worm broke into weakly protected computers, spreading
via network shares and file-sharing systems such as Kazaa and
LimeWire, and allowed remote hackers to control affected computers
via Internet Relay Chat.
"Once a hacker has remote control of your PC they can use it for
whatever twisted purpose they desire. For instance, they could read
your confidential files, steal data, or launch thousands of spam
messages from your computer," continued Cluley.
The 16-year-old suspect is due to appear in a youth court on 3
June. In the past virus writers such as David L Smith, Simon Vallor and
Christopher Pile have been sentenced to jail for damage caused by
their malicious code. If the suspected author of the Randex worm is
found guilty he may escape a similar punishment because of his
News of the youth's arrest comes one year after the University
of Calgary in Canada was criticised by the security
industry for promoting a virus-writing course for students.
Sophos recommends that companies ensure their systems are
protected with the latest anti-virus updates. Sophos's anti-virus solutions can be automatically updated,
ensuring the latest virus protection is in place against the latest
threats even when your office is unmanned.