Cat-hacking Japanese man admits cybercrime guilt

The odd case involved a buried smartphone and clues stashed in a cat's collar

A hacker has confessed in court to hijacking other people's computers to make murder threats in a bizarre case that saw the source code for a virus stashed in the collar of a cat.

Yusuke Katayama, a chubby, bespectacled former IT worker, was accused of sending online messages in 2012 that threatened mass murders at elementary schools and warning of bombs in an airplane and at a shrine.

On Thursday he changed his plea in the case to guilty, according to Japanese press reports. He had been out on bail but was taken back into custody this week.

"It's all true," NHK TV quoted Katayama as telling the Tokyo District Court, a reversal of his not-guilty plea in February.

The online messages were sent via a virus copied to the computers of other people, leading police to make four false arrests.

But what really captured the attention of the Japanese public in the so-called "remote-controlled virus case" was that a message criticizing police -- as well as the source code for the virus -- had been placed in the collar of a stray cat on tiny Enoshima Island, southwest of Tokyo.

Police used surveillance footage of Katayama hanging around the cat as evidence in his arrest in 2013.

After he was released on bail in March, Katayama appeared at a press conference at The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, complaining that he had been "treated 100 percent as a criminal by the media."

But the case took a dramatic turn when email was sent to media outlets last Friday claiming to be from the real culprit in the case. The email was sent while Katayama was in court for a hearing.

Investigators allege that they had followed Katayama and found a smartphone buried along a riverbank in Tokyo that was used to send the email. They also claim Katayama's DNA was on the phone.

Prosecutors took him back into custody on Tuesday after the court revoked his bail.

"In order for the defendant to feel the gravity of what has been done, it's extremely important that the victims in this series of incidents appear in court," defense lawyer Hiroshi Sato told a press conference, adding that Katayama apologized for his actions.

Katayama has apparently made suicidal remarks, and his lawyers may seek a psychiatric evaluation.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securitylegalcybercrime

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?