Four arrests and a congressional hearing

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Sep 30, 2003

US Congress starts to take computer security seriously, four alleged malware writers arrested...

A US Congressional hearing was held last month to discuss the current state of Internet virus and worm attacks in the wake of the recent outbreaks of Blaster and Sobig.F. Members of law enforcement bodies and computer security experts including representatives from Symantec, Network Associates, Microsoft, Cisco, VeriSign and Qualys were called to testify before the technology subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform about issues surrounding the recent Blaster and Sobig.F attacks and how to protect the nation’s computing systems from future virus and worm threats.

Some of the suggestions put forward for improving the security of the nation’s computing systems included: better standards for producing secure software, computing ethics education aimed at children, increased funding and training for computer forensics teams and protocols for information sharing that would aid in capturing perpetrators across borders. Chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Adam Putnam floated the idea of legislation that would require publicly traded companies to complete a ‘cybersecurity checklist’ in their reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission — potentially forcing companies to make changes in their IT security measures if investors or customers believe that an insufficient number of items are checked on the cybersecurity checklist.

The deputy assistant attorney general at the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice, John Malcolm, faced some grilling when Putnam questioned whether cyber criminals face lighter penalties for the damage they create than other criminals — and whether, in fact, cyber criminals are pursued with the same vigour as other criminals. Malcolm argued that cyber criminals can be difficult to track and stressed that their crimes are taken seriously.

Meanwhile, in other corners of the globe, arrests of suspected virus writers were being made. Shortly after the arrest by US authorities of 18-year-old Jeffery Lee Parson on suspicion of creating and releasing W32/Blaster.B, Romanian police arrested a 24-year-old man suspected of releasing the .F variant of Blaster. If found guilty, it is reported that the young Romanian could face a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, thanks to the country’s new computer crime laws. Less likely to face such a long sentence are two British men who were charged in connection with Troj/TKBot.A. The arrests followed an investigation by the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit which began in February this year. The pair have been charged with ‘conspiring to effect unauthorised modifications to the content of computers with the intent to impair the operation of those computers’ and await court appearance.

Posted on 30 September 2003 by Virus Bulletin

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