T0rn Kit Writer Suspect Arrested in UK

Police arrested a 21-year-old man suspected of writing the malicious “T0rn” rootkit that attacked Linux computer systems, the culmination of a year-long joint investigation involving British and U.S. authorities.

“Computer equipment was seized from a residential property and a 21-year-old man was arrested under the Computer Misuse Act 1990,” he said, adding that the man was released on bail pending further police investigation. The arrest of virus writers is a rare victory for law enforcement, and police have hailed this case as an important step in the war against cyber crime.

T0rn, which later was modified by a Chinese virus-writing group to create another worm known as Lion, circulated in the digital wild for much of 2001, but did relatively little harm. Computer security experts consider T0rn to be the first Trojan horse-style virus — meaning it masquerades as legitimate software — written expressly to harm Linux users.

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