Canadian teen charged in virus case

A Canadian teen has been arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on charges relating to a virus first identified last summer.

The 16-year-old youth from Mississauga, Ont., can’t be named under the country’s Youth Criminal Justice Act. He is facing numerous charges, including mischief to data, fraudulent use of computer systems and aiding and abetting mischief to data, according to Sergeant George Wiegers of the RCMP’s Integrated Technological Crime Unit in London, Ont.

“The allegations are that he was distributing the Randex virus,” he said. “Basically there was a complaint made in a foreign jurisdiction…and one of our international policing partners advised us of the complaint and that is when our investigation began.”

Wiegers was not able to identify where specifically the complaint came from, as that information could compromise any ongoing investigations. He was also, for the same reason, unable to confirm or deny that the teen was the author of the virus.

According to Symantec Corp.’s Security Response team, Randex — or W32.Randex.E — is an Internet relay chat (IRC) Trojan which allows the creator the ability to control an infected computer though IRC. Since it was first discovered, it has spawned more than 100 variants, according to antivirus and security firms.

At least 9,000 computers were affected by the Randex virus, according to the RCMP.

“Plus, the capability of the Trojan packages that come with the virus is that it installs an innocuous program on the affected computer that would listen to a particular channel on an IRC server somewhere and the administrator of that channel could issue a select set of commands,” Wiegers explained, “and it could either generate tons of spam e-mail or it could alternatively generate a particular type of distributed denial of service attack on any IP address specified.”

The charges were laid against the youth on May 7, and he will appear in a Brampton, Ont. court in June 3.

The RCMP was brought in on this particular case strictly because of its international angle, Wiegers explained, adding that there are technological units in city and provincial police forces which also deal with these types of crimes.

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