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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 05:58 GMT 06:58 UK
Briton charged over computer worm
Graphic BBC
Users scarcely noticed the virus programme
A Briton has been charged with creating and releasing a virus programme designed for hackers to access home computers, it has emerged.

The FBI and Scotland Yard said a 24-year-old man had been arrested on 23 July in Washington and released to face trial later this year.

If found guilty, the man, who has not been named, could be sentenced up to five years in prison under Britain's Computer Misuse Act.

Investigators said the man allegedly created the W32-Leave worm, which infected a few computers earlier this year.

The worm helps a hacker break into a victim's computer and steal or delete files and use the computer for further hacking.

Security notice

One variant of the worm came attached to an e-mail disguised as a Microsoft security notice, prompting a real warning from Microsoft.

But antivirus companies said users hardly noticed the worm.

"We had to stop to look it up to find out how much of a non-event it was," said David Perry of computer security firm Trend Micro.

The FBI issued a warning about the worm in June.

See also:

02 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Code Red threat tailing off
13 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
Virus exploits voyeurs
01 Aug 01 | Talking Point
Can the hackers be stopped?
06 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
New worm infects the net
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