Taiwanese university reveals CIH author

A Taiwanese University revealed the name of who it believes is the author of the destructive CIH computer virus on Wednesday.
Written by ZDNet Staff, Contributor

Identified as Chen Ing-Hau -- whose initials spell CIH -- the alleged virus writer was a student at the Tatung Institute of Technology when he created the harmful software, according to an Associate Press report.

The university had punished Chen last April when the virus damaged some of the Institute's systems, said Lee Chee-Chen, the institute's dean of student affairs, according to the report.

Chen -- a senior at the time -- was given a demerit but neither expelled nor criminally prosecuted, and later joined the military service to serve out Taiwan's two-year compulsory term, stated the report. The university did not hand down a harsher sentence on Chen because he had warned students not to spread the virus, stated Lee in the AP report.

The CIH computer virus is the most destructive virus attack, yet. On Monday, CIH slammed South Korea and Turkey, crashing more than a half a million computers by reformatting hard drives and, in some cases, zapping a key chip on the computers' motherboards. The U.S. saw perhaps 10,000 cases, mainly in universities and with individual users at home. It was not immediately known whether those countries would seek prosecution of the CIH author.

The virus, long suspected by U.S. anti-virus software firms to have originated in Taiwan, infects computers running Windows 95 and 98 when a previously-infected program -- one with the .EXE extension -- is run.

The most common, year-old variant is known as Chernobyl, because the date on which it activates is April 26, the anniversary of the nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union. That variant was the main culprit in Monday's attack. It's also the original virus written by Chen.

Other variants of CIH trigger on June 26 and the 26th of every month. The virus was first identified in the United States last May.

On Tuesday, anti-virus software makers stated they believed the writer would not be caught. "Ninety-nine percent of virus writers won't ever be found," said Dan Takata, senior software support engineer with computer management firm Data Fellows Inc., on Tuesday. "For CIH ... the writer knows a lot. No way [he's going to be found]."

Apparently, none of the companies knew that the Tatung Institute of Technology had already identified the writer.

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