According to a report in the popular online IT news website
The Register, a 37-year-old man has been
arrested by British police under suspicion of hacking into online
dating website, loveandfriends.com.
Officers from New Scotland Yard's Computer Crime Unit are also
said to have found evidence on the Sheffield man's home computer
that he was responsible for writing the Mirsa email-aware worms, which
struck in January, spreading messages supporting the "Fathers 4
Justice campaign" and attacking the policies of Prime Minister Tony
The suspect, who has been arrested last week under the Computer
Misuse Act, has been released on bail pending further enquiries,
and a detailed computer forensic analysis.
A spokesman for the loveandfriends.com website told Sophos that
the suspect had only accessed four of its members accounts "after a
lot of effort", and that no credit card information was exposed.
More information on the case is available on the dating website.
The "Fathers 4 Justice" campaign has made headlines in the UK
and elsewhere around the world because of high profile media stunts
perpetrated by some of its members, such as scaling the walls of
Buckingham Palace dressed as the superhero Batman. The organisation
has denied any involvement or endorsement with the Mirsa
A clue in the code?
Sophos reported in
January about a possible clue buried inside one of the Mirsa
worms which might suggest the author was from the Sheffield area.
Hidden inside the W32/Mirsa-A virus, and not normally displayed to
the infected user, is a section of text: "sheffield hallam
university is corrupt".
|Hidden inside the W32/Mirsa-A worm is a message
about Sheffield Hallam University
"Crime fighters had a strong lead to pursue when it was realised
that the worm included a hidden reference to Sheffield," said
senior technology consultant for Sophos. "It's possible, however,
that ultimately the investigation into a hacked dating website
resulted in the identification of this suspected virus writer."
Other messages included inside the Mirsa worms included:
Fathers 4 Justice
Coded by UK Digital Binary Division
UK Government will listen Fathers 4 Justice
We are NOW supporting Fathers 4
Tony Blair: you really should LISTEN to us or we will take
Sophos recommends computer users ensure their anti-virus
software is up-to-date, and that companies protect themselves with
a consolidated solution which can defend
them from the threats of both spam and viruses.