Two men have been charged with conspiring to create a worldwide computer virus believed to have caused damage costing millions of pounds, police have said.
Jordan Bradley, 20, and Andrew Harvey, 22, were arrested in February following a joint investigation by specialist police officers from Britain and the United States.
Bradley, of Bates Avenue, Darlington, and Harvey, of Scardale Way, Belmont, Co Durham, are due to appear before magistrates in Consett on 18 September.
The two men are accused of being part of an
international gang of computer hackers known as the THr34t-Krew.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1 January 2002 and February 2003, a National Hi-Tech Crime Unit spokeswoman said.
The charges allege they conspired together and with others, to effect unauthorised modifications to the contents of computers, with the intent to impair the operation of those computers.
The THr34t-Krew group is thought to be behind the creation of the TK web worm that used internet chat channels to attack other computers.
The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit says the worm infected more than 18,000 computers.
The worm created by the THr34t-Krew infected machines by exploiting a vulnerability in some Microsoft software.
It was designed to provide a backdoor into any computer that had it installed.
The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit says that the TK worm caused up to £5.5m of disruption.