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Italian arrested over Trojan horse scheme

Hacking tool is discovered hiding within chat program

An Italian alleged to have concealed a Trojan horse program within a chat application that was uploaded to a popular downloads Web site has been arrested by authorities in Milan.

Fraud investigators in Milan said Friday that a 26-year-old Sicilian had been arrested under an Italian law concerning the distribution of "malware" following a "virtual pursuit". Investigators warned that the Trojan horse program had been hidden within a chat program called Chat 1on1 and uploaded to the Web portal Supereva, which belongs to Italian ISP Dada. The malicious software has since been removed following a Milanese court order.

The program is believed to allow a malicious user to take control over a victim's computer system. Italian police suggest that it could have been used to steal passwords, credit card information and even launch a distributed denial of service attack. This type of attack bombards a target with a tidal wave of fake traffic and was used in February to bring down global Web sites.

ZDNet Italy's Alberto D'Ottavi contributed to this report.

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