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30-Year-Old Man Implicated for 'Remote Control Virus'

posted on 2013-02-09 15:40 EST
Warrant filed over malware that led to Gundam 00 technical director's mistaken arrest

Police filed an arrest warrant for a 30-year-old Tokyo man over a malicious software (malware) that allows an attacker to remotely control a victim's computer. The investigators intend to arrest the suspect on Sunday.

Police had arrested anime technical director Masaki Kitamura (Gundam 00) in August for sending massacre threats, but released him one month later after they determined that the malware likely enabled someone else to send the threats from Kitamura's computer. Three other men held on similar charges were also released, and the government publicly apologized to all four for arresting them.

Since last year, news organizations have received multiple email messages from the alleged "real criminal" behind the malware. By following the instructions in a January 5 message, a microSD memory card with the malware was discovered on the collar of a cat in Kanagawa Prefecture's Enoshima island. The police then examined the footage from a security camera near the cat's location and found footage of a man acting suspiciously near the cat. With the footage, the authorities identified the 30-year-old suspect as the one who allegedly left the memory card.

The alleged "real criminal" sent messages to a Tokyo lawyer and the television station TBS in October and November. One November message read, "I will now kill myself by hanging" and "Sayonara." The message added, "I made a mistake. I lost the game." It included a photograph (pictured left) of a Puella Magi Madoka Magica Nendoroid figure of Madoka Kaname, surrounded by an apparent noose fashioned from an Ethernet cable.

News organizations received another message from the alleged "real criminal" on New Year's Day. This message introduced a "new game" for revealing more information about the alleged suspect. The message linked to several files, and claimed that the first person to "solve the five puzzle problems" in the files will receive the malware's source code.

One of the files contained an illustration of the Korean Doraemon lookalike Tonchamon, as well as an illustration of the character Meredy from the role-playing game Tales of Eternia. Tonchamon has a speech balloon with Korean Hangul characters, while Meredy has a speech balloon with "Happy New Year" written in Melnics, the fictional language in Tales of Eternia.

The malware is still described by the Japanese media and the Japanese government's Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA) as a "virus." However, the IPA said that the malware was distributed by fooling users into thinking they were downloading a "character substitution software," similar to malware known as "Trojan horses."

Source: NHK via Itai News


This article has a follow-up: 'Remote Control PC Virus' Suspect Denies Charges (2013-02-11 21:15)
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