'Remote Control PC Virus' Suspect Denies Charges
posted on by Sarah Nelkin
Yūsuke Katayama, a 30-year-old former Internet company employee suspected of using malicious software (malware) to remotely control victims' computers, is denying all police accusations against him. Among other charges, he was arrested on Sunday for allegedly posting a threat on the 2channel forum to commit a massacre at the Comic Market 82 event in August.
“This is not the truth,” the suspect said to authorities after the arrest, “That's absolutely not the truth.” He is also suspected by police to have used the malware to frame anime episode director Masaki Kitamura (Gundam 00), who was arrested for threatening a massacre similar to the 2008 Akihabara killings against Osaka's "Otaroad" district in August. Kitamura and three other men held on similar charges were eventually 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 suspect as the one who allegedly left the memory card.
According to the authorities, the memory card contained messages of hatred towards police, mainly due to the suspect being previously arrested eight years ago for making threats over the Internet. The message writer blamed the police for mixing him up in the incident, and added that the arrest had thrown his life into disorder, even though he was innocent.
The online anonymity networking program Tor was found on the suspect's work computer in Tokyo's Minato ward, and police say that records within the program showed evidence that it had been used multiple times. The investigators suspect that Katayama wrote 13 notices from this computer.
The police confiscated multiple computers from the suspect's former workplace on Monday. The police investigated whether the suspect used an Internet café in Tokyo's Akihabara district on January 18, as well as one of several cat cafés nearby.
The suspect's father told reporters, “If the suspect is actually the true criminal, as a human, I will not forgive him this time for his crimes that have harmed unrelated people. I think that crimes using the Internet will continue to happen in the future, so I hope that the police will increase their efforts to get with the times and make countermeasures.”
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."
Katayama has not been linked to the recent spate of threats against multiple locations linked to Kuroko's Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. Those threats, which led to the barring of Kuroko's Basketball circles from December's Comic Market 83 and increased security at the event, were sent by postal mail instead of by email.