Virus Threatened to Kill File-Sharers, Creator Arrested for Copyright Infringement

The author of a bizarre virus which threatened to kill file-sharers has been arrested in Japan. Has he been arrested for making death threats? No! For writing the virus? No! This is the 21st century. He's been arrested for copyright infringement, of course.

winny virus kills
Early March 2007, we reported about a bizarre virus circulating on the Winny network. It was quite unique, in that it taunted file-sharers, threatened to report them to the police and even threatened to kill them.

“This is a visit from the prevalent Piro virus! Stop P2P! If you don’t I’ll tell the police!” it exclaimed, while another message threatened: “Ah, I see you are using P2P again……if you don’t stop within 0.5 seconds, I’m going to kill you!”

Graham Cluley, a consultant for Sophos said of the virus: “This is one of the most bizarre pieces of malware we have seen in our labs for quite some time, but it’s data-destroying payload is no laughing matter.”

Now, the Japanese police say that they have apprehended the three man gang responsible for the creation and distribution of the virus. One man wrote the code, they say, and the others placed it on file-sharing network, Winny.

However, due to Japanese law, it’s going to be tricky for the police to nail someone for creating the malware. They have a trick up their sleeve though, explains Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos: “It isn’t illegal to write viruses in Japan, so the author of the Trojan horse has been arrested for breaching copyright because he used cartoon graphics without permission in his malware.”

The virus creator is a a 24 year old graduate student from Izumisano City in Osaka. It’s claimed he illegally used copyrighted images from an anime television show to create the virus.

The other two members of the group – a 39 year old man from Osaka and a 35 year old man from Hyogo – were also arrested for copyright offenses, unrelated to the virus. The men are suspected of uploading anime episodes onto the Winny network.

One of the images from the virus includes a song about fish-shaped pancakes stuffed with jam, which makes about as much sense as arresting a virus creator for copyright infringement. But hey, this is the 21st century – what did you expect?

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