Cybercriminals charged in New Zealand, Korea

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Mar 4, 2008

Law closes in on alleged botnet master and rogue anti-spyware maker.

Police in New Zealand have charged an 18-year-old in connection with a botnet he is suspected of building and controlling, while in South Korea the head of a company pushing a rogue anti-malware product has also been indicted on fraud charges.

In the New Zealand case, Owen Thor Walker from the city of Hamilton stands accused of a raft of charges of illegally accessing and controlling computers, damaging systems and possessing malicious software. Penalties for the crimes could amount to 10 years in jail.

Walker is thought to have led a global ring of cybercriminals responsible for infecting over a million systems, pushing adware and spyware, and rumours suggest the gang stole as much as $20 million through bank frauds. More details on the case are in the Brisbane Times, here.

In South Korea, the 41-year-old former CEO of a 'security' company has been accused of defrauding millions of customers after the company promoted a free security product which alerted on spurious malware infections and demanded payment for a 'full' version to remove them. The software is though to have been used by almost 4 million Koreans, with as many as 1.26 million paying up for the substandard software.

The CEO has been indicted for cyber fraud, while two programmers are also accused of participating in creating fraudulent software. A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office claims there are as many as 200 anti-malware companies in Korea, but with only a handful known to testing and certification bodies other sources have suggested there may be this many rogue companies, pushing variations on the same theme.

More information on the case can be found in the Joongang Daily, here.

Posted on 04 March 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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