Hacker's P2P virus replaces files with sea creature manga

storm-squid.jpg

According to Japanese site, Asahi.com, a Japanese hacker was arrested for allegedly writing a computer virus that destroys all files on a victim's computer and replaces them with homemade manga images of sea creatures like squid, octopuses and sea urchins.

It is believed that the 27-year-old Masato Nakatsuji managed to infect between 20,000 and 50,000 computers with his Ika-tako (‘squid-octopus') virus. His virus was disguised as a music file and spread through the Japanese P2P file-sharing network, Winny. As if the squid-octopus virus had infectious tentacles, it reached into the hard drive, deleting files and replacing each with an image of a marine invertebrate.

"Manga" is a term that usually represents Japanese art turned into comics. According to Wikipedia, if the comic is successful enough, it can be turned into an animated film. Perhaps the hacker was shooting for fame on many levels?

This is not the first time Nakatsuji had a brush with The Law. In 2008, he was arrested in Japan for defamation and for violating copyright laws. Nakatsuji had created a trojan that replaced files with popular anime images which were embedded with weird warnings against using P2P. The warning messages, according to Zero Paid, included "Ah, I see you are using P2P again...if you don't stop in 0.5 seconds, I'm going to kill you." Another attached manga message was, "This is a visit from the prevealant Piro virus! Stop P2P! If you don't I'll tell the police!"

Zero Paid further reported what Nakatsuji said in his defense during the first trial. "If movies and animated films are illegally downloaded, TV networks will stop showing these programs in the future. My hobby is to watch recorded TV programs, so I was trying to stop that."

According to Asahi, Nakatsuji was serving a suspended sentence for his last trojan when he was arrested for his lastest squid-octupus manga virus. He reportedly told police that he believed he would not be arrested again; he had created the Ika-tako manga images and had not violated the copyright law.

If he was joking, the police must not have been amused. Asahi reported that this time, the police arrested Nakatsuji on charges of "property destruction." It was the first time Tokyo's police have arrested someone for property destruction in connection with malware.

Once a computer was infected, it was impossible to retrieve the original files, thus "property destruction." Before deleting files from an infected hard drive, the virus transmitted them to a server. The police believe the server belongs to Nakatsuji and holds data from 50,000 infected users. When a user tried to open a destroyed file, the user was only able to access a manga image of a squid or octopus.

Asahi.com reported that Masato Nakatsuji told police, "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

This guy is orignal, but it seems his skills have not improved enough to keep from being caught. I think he might be better off not speaking. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

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