Virus Writer Arrested

By | January 20, 2005

Police in Spain have arrested a man suspected of creating a Trojan-style virus capable of making secret recordings of Internet users through their Webcams.

The suspect is a computer programmer from Madrid who identifies himself as JAS. Spanish authorities caught the man spying on various users through their Webcams and apprehended him during a week-long operation dubbed “Tic-Tac”.

JAS is alleged to have created a Trojan horse program distributed through Peer-To-Peer (P2P) networks such as Kazaa. The application can be hidden in a picture or song. Once a user opened the file, it would give the hacker remote access to the user’s computer.

JAS installed a keystroke logger to obtain confidential information such as banking passwords, as well as accessing personal photos and other confidential data stored on the victims computers.

Spanish authorities characterize the Trojan horse as “highly sophisticated” and say they believe it has already infected thousands of computers in several countries. As far as they know, no commercial antivirus products are able to detect it, they say.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, says that because the authorities have not identified which Trojan horse the suspect allegedly created, antivirus companies cannot say definitively whether or not they are able to detect it.

It´s now up to the police to share whatever information they have so users can check to see if they are infected, Cluley says.

“You could see how people would be quite disturbed by the thought of being burgled and recorded in this way,” he adds.

“We believe he is guilty. We found a mountain of evidence,” a spokesperson for the Civil Guard says. The suspect is due to appear in court on Wednesday. If convicted, he could face years in jail, the spokesperson says.

Leave a Reply