Trojan horse found responsible for child porn

Trojan horse found responsible for child porn

Summary: A man has been cleared of child porn charges, after investigators found that an Internet attacker was responsible for the presence of illicit images on his PC

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TOPICS: Security
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A man accused of storing child pornography on his computer has been cleared after it emerged that his computer had been infected by a Trojan horse, which was responsible for transferring the images onto his PC.

Julian Green, 45, was taken into custody last October after police with a search warrant raided his house. He then spent a night in a police cell, nine days in Exeter prison and three months in a bail hostel. During this time, his ex-wife won custody of his seven year old daughter and possession of his house.

This is thought to be the second case in the UK where a "Trojan defence" has been used to clear someone of such an accusation. In April, a man from Reading was found not guilty of the crime after experts testified that a Trojan could have been responsible for the presence of 14 child porn images on his PC.

Trojan horses can be used to install a back door on a PC, allowing an attacker to freely access the computer. Using the back door, a malicious user can send pictures or other files to the victim's computer or use the infected machine to access illegal Web sites, while hiding the intruder's identity. Infected machines can be used for storing files without the knowledge of the computer's owner.

Kevin Hogan, senior manager at Symantec Security Response, told ZDNet UK that he has known Trojans to pretend to be a game, picture and even a Windows folder. "It is technically possible for a Trojan to set up someone's computer as a proxy machine. So you see a folder on your desktop, double click it and it executes."

According to Hogan, a Trojan back door can usually be dealt with by using an up-to-date antivirus software or a personal firewall.

Green told The Evening Standard that the experience wrecked his life because he was treated like a depraved sex fiend. "I had never been in trouble before. In cases like this it is not innocent until proved guilty, but the other way around," he said.

Green is reportedly planning on suing the police for compensation.

Topic: Security

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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Talkback

50 comments
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  • will Norton's keep the Trojan off of the computer?
    anonymous
  • I use both Norton Antivirus and Norton Personal Firewall. They do an excellent job of protecting my computer against viruses, worms, trojans and hackers. No security system is perfect (that includes Linux, whose users might try to make you think otherwise), but a system that is properly protected with an antivirus program, a firewall and kept up to date can and will keep your system safe. Make sure that you keep you OS, as well as your antivirus and firewall, up to date with the latest security patches. Hackers aren't going to waste their time trying to compromise a secure, up to date system. There are far too many insecure systems that can be taken advantage of to bother trying. Also, it does not hurt to regularly check your system's security against one of several online scanners that will probe your system for security weaknesses.
    anonymous
  • I noticed the article failed to identify which trojan it was. Is this due to the fact that they couldn't find a specific one or is this so that the real sickos can't disguise their system as infected
    anonymous
  • Disgusting.

    His life ruined over 14 pictures? They should be doing more to distroy the source of these images and raise awareness and understanding, not ruining the lives of the innocent!
    anonymous
  • Be advised:
    I linked on to your site from the Drudge Site and got you and a porn site.
    a popup with the name Only The BEst...
    How do they do this. I have gotten this popupnow and then at other sites.
    anonymous
  • How does someone ever recover from beiung wrongly accused? Surely tehreis soem scope fro protecting the identity of an accused until guilt has been established. This type of activity is abhorrent but equally abhorrent is the destruction of the life of soemeone who is innocent
    anonymous
  • How does someone ever recover from beiung wrongly accused? Surely tehreis soem scope fro protecting the identity of an accused until guilt has been established. This type of activity is abhorrent but equally abhorrent is the destruction of the life of soemeone who is innocent
    anonymous
  • Just shows how inoccent people can become victims. Should be a valuable lesson to everyone. Keep your machine secure!
    anonymous
  • It is easy to setup someones computer so that it looks like they have spent months downloading nothing but child porn. The police know this and yet still prosecute wrongly. It would be advisable for the police to learn about the tell tale signs of computer related sex offences and then to act on these signs to discover if the suspect is a risk to the public. I hope that this gets sorted because It must be very embarassing and potentially life wrecking for individuals who have to suffer through allegations such as these. Either take all porn off the internet and protect our children or prosecute the networks/servers that allow this sort of stuff to be hosted.
    anonymous
  • Last week I was charged with child porn possession. I never downloaded child porn.
    When I run Norton antivirus, I found Trojan virus, before police took my laptop. i have a lawyer. May be you can help me, or suggest my lawyer, how to use trojan defence.
    Thank you
    Fima
    anonymous
  • Just a thought: "During this time, his ex-wife won custody of his seven year old daughter and possession of his house." Has anyone checked whether she knows any wizzkids? It would take false accusations to a new level...
    anonymous
  • I had a bad experience with a porn trojan, but thankfully it was just embarrassing as it was adult porn rather than child porn.

    I was helping out a woman friend (who I only know a little) by downloading a song track from a singer she was into. One of the files was zip rather than mp3 and as it was smaller than the rest I downloaded it.

    I should have known better than run the file (I am an IT contractor!) but we were in a hurry and did not spot it was a program not an mp3. As I opened the file my web browser took on a life of its own and started opening to various porn sites. As I closed one another opened. My new friend was sitting with me as this happened!

    I later discovered that it had added links in my start menu, it added links on my desktop, they were all over the place. My machine looked like I was an avid visitor to these sites.

    As I say, thankfully, it was not child porn sites that the trojan launched and installed links to on my machine, but it could just have easily been. If it had been child porn sites I don't know what my female friend would have done or whether she would have understood what had happened. I am not sure she understood as it was...

    I know of a guy whose nephew borrowed his computer and then accussed him of accessng child porn as he found links to these sites on the PC. As you can imagine this caused big trouble in the family.

    Maybe the nephew was downloading mp3's and got another version of the trojan I found and without realising it loaded lots of child porn links onto his uncle's computer...

    If i suspected someone I would look to see how obvious the links were. Nobody who lets someone else use their machine will be too likely to have lots of links in obvious places where they can be found easily (unless they are a very naive user).
    anonymous
  • i was not surprises by the trojan horses situation and they are many more ........pptipbronxnyc
    anonymous
  • Response to Anonymous from USA:
    First of all you have to tell your lawyer to learn how much he could about spyware (he just have to make a search "spyware" with Google) and read every advices into it. That
    anonymous
  • Carlos Cruz, one of the most famous portuguese entertainers is also in jail acused of child abuse.
    Recently one of the accusations against him (at least according newspapers said), it was that investigators have found child porn into his computer. Days later this accusation was proved false and the investigators said to the media that it was not true and that they had never said that.
    In the meanwhile who repair the negative effects (even for the process itself) of this false accusation against him?
    Despite what investigators said that they didn
    anonymous
  • Can someone tell me how we can locate the actual residence of the companies or individuals infecting our PCs with Trojan Horses? We have some rather sophisticated attorneys in the US, Canada and the UK. What we need to do is initiate powerful damage lawsuits against them, piercing their corporate veils, and filing judgments against them throughout the civilized world. Criminal complaints would help also. And, governments should be pressured to bring action and acknowledge judgments and injunctions against this scum that places any kind of porn on our PCs for our children to see.

    Any of you trial lawyers out there have any ideas?
    anonymous
  • what sick person or people put it there in the frist place.
    anonymous
  • we have a trojan porn horse infecting our computer. we've wiped the machine twice now, but have failed to irradicate it. dont know who to contact to help us remove it. i have young children who access my computer so i am obviously upset.
    anonymous
  • The trojan could be in your bios try and flash update it that should get rid of it. I had one like that on my network.
    anonymous
  • I am also currently being investigated for child pornography. After sending my office computer in after it was acting weird, they found hundreds of files and directories of child pornography. They also found the Trojan Horse virus. I was devestated. Anyone else going through this, or have any advice? Any attorneys with experience?
    anonymous