Chinese make first malware arrests

'Panda burning joss-sticks' virus results in first ever reported arrests made in China for virus writing

Chinese police have arrested eight people in connection with the release of last month's notorious "panda burning joss-sticks" virus, according to official reports.

Among those arrested was Li Jun, a 25 year-old man from Wuhan, in central China, the official Xinhua News Agency said on its Website. Li allegedly sold copies of the worm to 120 people, earning 100,000 renminbi (US$12,876) from the sales, the report said, citing a statement from the Hubei Province Public Security Bureau.

The arrests are the first ever reported in China for virus writing, Xinhua said.

Panda Burning Incense, which is known by several other names, including Fujacks and Radoppan.T, was written in October 2006 and first attracted the attention of authorities and anti-virus experts last month. Its intention is to steal the user names and passwords used by online games players.

Anti-virus specialist Sophos last month described Panda Burning Incense as a "parasitic virus," which infects executable files on a PC. When infected, the icon of the executable file changes to an image of a panda holding three sticks of incense - a traditional way of praying in China.

The virus also allows attackers to circumvent some security processes on infected computers and spreads by attacking shared network resources.

In a statement, Sophos said the virus does not present a risk of widespread infection, as the altering of program icons makes infection obvious. The company also discounted reports of widespread infection, saying it received only "one or two" such reports.

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