Zotob zapped

The virus writers responsible for the Zotob, Mytob and Rbot internet worms have been arrested after an investigation by the FBI.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  August 29, 2005

The virus writers responsible for the Zotob, Mytob and Rbot internet worms have been arrested after an investigation by the FBI. 21-year old Atilla Ekici of Turkey and 18-year Morrocan Farid Essebar have been charged with consumer fraud as Turkey and Morocco lack strong cyber crime legislation. The arrests were made after close collaboration between the FBI and Microsoft. “We were able to put the information together based on the work of our Internet Crime Investigation team working with the FBI, relying on electronic data to identify where this was coming from,” says Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith. The arrests were made only two weeks after the surfacing of the Zotob worm. “This reflects that our entire industry is able to move much more quickly today than was the case two years ago,” he explains. Essebar is believed to be the author of the initial worms and Ekici, paid him for the code. It is common for worm authors to sell their creations. The Zotob worm made headlines because it surfaced only days after Microsoft had published a security advisory about the vulnerability that the worm exploited. In the following days numerous variants of the worm surfaced. The worm mainly affected systems running Windows 2000. Infected computers were recruited for botnets and would power down or reboot unexpectedly, which at one point crippled several large enterprises including American Express.

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