Source Pravda.Ru

Arrested Zotob author may be virus mastermind

The teenager arrested on suspicion of writing and distributing the Zotob Windows 2000 worm may have authored more than 20 other viruses, it has emerged.

The claim was made by anti-virus company Sophos, which has analysed a number of viruses incorporating the Diabl0 "handle" or moniker used by the accused, 18-year-old Farid Essebar.

Other viruses and worms suspected of being his handiwork include the Mydoom variant, Mydoom-BG, and the Zotob-related Mytob worm that the company says currently accounts for over half of all virus traffic reported to it in August, reports Techworld.

According to Information Week, "It is not unusual for malware authors to leave their handles inside their malicious code, sometimes alongside other messages," said Sophos in a statement. The company said its researchers had found 21 other worms with the Diabl0 handle included in their code.

Of the 21, 20 are Mytob variants, ranging from Mytob.a to Mytob.gz; two of Sophos' most recent Top 10 list of viruses and worms appear to have been authored by Essebar, said Sophos.

"The Mytob worms have made a significant impact on the virus outbreak charts this year, so anything which may prevent future variants from being developed and released must be welcomed," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, in a statement.

However, Cluley cautioned - as have other analysts - that it's probable other hackers have access to the Mytob source code, a fact that many think is the root cause of the more than 200 variants seen so far this year.