Suspect charged in Canada for Randex worm

A sixteen-year-old boy from Mississauga, Ontario, will appear in court on June 3 to face charges of computer fraud and mischief to data for helping distribute the Randex computer worm, according to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) spokesman.

The boy was issued a summons to appear in Youth Justice Court in Brampton, Ontario, following an RCMP investigation that linked him to a network of Randex-infected computers acting as robots, or "bots," said Sergeant George Wiegers of the RCMP's Integrated Technological Crime Unit.

According to the RCMP, more than 9000 computers were infected by the worms.

Randex spreads by breaking into poorly protected computers running Microsoft.'s Windows operating system. The worm first appeared last June and newer versions of the Randex worm have been “spreading and causing mischief for about a year now,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

Randex spreads on local area networks, exploiting Windows machines with weak passwords by trying to guess the password using a preprogrammed list of values, said F-Secure.

Once it infects machines, the worm alters the configuration of Windows so that the worm is launched whenever Windows starts. It also installs a backdoor on the infected machine that allows the worm's author or remote attackers to control the machine using commands issued over an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel, F-Secure said.

The RCMP investigation followed a tip from law enforcement in a "foreign country" that led to the boy. The tip followed a complaint in that country about a network of IRC "bots," Wiegers said.

Wiegers declined to say which country the tip came from, but said he was not aware of any links between the Randex case and recent announcements from Germany about the arrest of the suspected author of the Sasser worm and Agobot Trojan program.

Wiegers also declined to comment on whether RCMP officers believed the boy was the Randex author or had searched the boy's house or seized any evidence in the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

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Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
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