Taiwanese police have arrested a man for writing and distributing a Trojan that was apparently used by Chinese hackers to steal and destroy information on government-owned computers in Taiwan.
Wang An-ping, 30, an engineer from Kaohsiung, has admitted to writing Peep, which allows hackers to steal and destroy data stored on infected computers. According to the China Post, Wang spent his free time designing software and had intended to sell Peep for commercial purposes, but eventually decided to give it away for free on his Web site.
Lin Chieh-lung, a spokesman for Taiwan's Internet crime investigation taskforce, said Wang may simply have been trying to show off his skills, but he should have known the consequences of marketing such a program. Chieh-lung said Wang placed his program on popular hackers' Web sites and encouraged people to download it.
Although Wang admitted he wrote the Trojan and was in contact with some Chinese software developers, he denied any knowledge of the alleged attacks carried out on the Taiwanese government's systems.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for antivirus firm Sophos, said it was unlikely that a 30-year-old computer engineer would not realise the consequences of writing and distributes a malicious piece of code.
"If found guilty it's quite possible that he will receive a tough sentence -- up to five years -- particularly as it is being suggested that the Trojan may have left open a backdoor for Chinese hackers to exploit," Cluley said.
This is the second virus-related charge this week. On Wednesday, a 16-year-old Canadian teenager was charged with "fraudulently using a computer" and "mischief against data" by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The teenager is suspected of writing the Randex worm.