• Japanese Man Arrested for Possession of Malware

    A 38-year-old Japanese man was arrested for storing a virus on his computer without a legitimate reason, marking the first enforcement of the country's new anti-malware legislation.
    Last month, the Japanese parliament gave a favorable vote to a revision of the Penal Code that added offenses related to the creation, distribution and possession of malware.

    Under the new law, which went into effect on July 14, malware writers can receive prison sentences of up to three years and fines of up to 500,000 yen (US$6,200).

    Furthermore, people who acquire or store malware on their computers with no legitimate purpose, face two years imprisonment and fines of 300,000 yen.

    The Daily Yomiuri newspaper reports that Yasuhiro Kawaguchi, 38, was arrested last Sunday, at his house in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, by officers from the Metropolitan Police Department.

    Investigators had reason to believe that Kawaguchi released and possibly created a trojan that infected over 2,000 users.

    The piece of malware was designed to steal all images found on the infected machines and send them over the Internet. The high number of files caused some machines to freeze when the trojan ran its payload.

    Prosecutors were only able to charge Kawaguchi with possession of malware because he admitted to storing the malware on his computer. Other charges might be added later depending on what the evidence gathered at his house reveals.

    "Thanks to the revised Penal Code, we were able to take quick action, preventing the virus from causing more harm" a senior MPD official told the Daily Yomiuri.

    Another Japanese virus writer was sentenced on Wednesday to two and a half years in prison. At the time of his arrest, in August last year, the new legislation was not in place and prosecutors charged him with destruction of property instead.
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