Yūsuke Katayama Sentenced to 8 Years for 'Remote Control PC Virus' Incident

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Gundam 00 director Masaki Kitamura mistakenly arrested in 2012 for email threats

The Tokyo District Court sentenced Yūsuke Katayama (pictured at right), a 32-year-old former IT company employee suspected of using malicious software (malware) to remotely control victims' computers, to eight years in prison on February 4. Katayama was sentenced for the framing of director Masaki Kitamura (Gundam 00) and three other people, the violation of the Anti-Hijacking Law, and forcible obstruction of business. The prosecution had asked for a 10-year prison sentence.

In total, Katayama was sentenced for sending 10 email threats, including one from August 2012 against a Tokyo-area kindergarten. Some emails were sent from Kitamura and three other victims' computers, and the four people were mistakenly arrested. The police later publicly apologized for the mistaken arrests.

Katayama was originally arrested in February 2013, but he denied the charges, and he was later released on bail. Police arrested him again when they were able to prove that he was the one claiming to be "the real criminal" who sent multiple email threats to news organizations in 2012-2013.

By following the instructions of one of those emails, police found a microSD memory card with the malware 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 toward police, mainly due to the suspect being previously arrested eight years ago for making threats over the Internet.

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: livedoor News via Hachima Kikō

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