[ISN] Taiwan virus suspect free on lack of victims

From: cult hero (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sat May 01 1999 - 13:26:43 PDT

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    Taiwan virus suspect free on lack of victims 
    April 30, 1999
    Web posted at: 11:59 a.m. EDT (1559 GMT)
    TAIPEI, Taiwan (Reuters) -- Investigators said on Friday a Taiwan hacker
    admitted creating the Chernobyl virus that ravaged computers worldwide but
    said a lack of any local plaintiffs made it difficult to charge him. 
    Police said Chen Ing-hau, a 24-year-old information engineer now serving
    mandatory military service, was questioned but not charged and the probe
    hinged on finding victims. 
    "He's not a criminal here as long as no one registers a complaint," a
    Taipei police spokeswoman said. 
    "All we know about problems with the virus is what we've seen in foreign
    news reports." 
    Chen's rogue program hit hardest in countries with weak anti-virus
    defenses, gumming up hundreds of thousands of computers in South Korea,
    Turkey and China and thousands in India, Bangladesh, the Mideast and
    Police said no infections had been reported in Taiwan. 
    Chen was questioned on suspicion of intentionally spreading a computer
    virus, a crime that carries a possible three-year prison term, and could
    be charged if victims come forth. 
    A bashful Chen, in brief comments after he was released, expressed remorse
    and offered to help victims remove the virus from their computers. 
    Authorities said Chen created the virus while studying at Tatung Institute
    of Technology, which had disciplined him a year ago after learning about
    the computer program, and did not pursue the matter further with
    Dubbed Chernobyl because it strikes on anniversaries of the April 26,
    1986, Soviet nuclear disaster, the virus is known to experts as CIH --
    which Chen acknowledged were his initials. 
    Chernobyl and other CIH variants are among the most damaging viruses of
    recent years, less widespread than the e-mail replicator virus "Melissa" 
    that swamped Internet servers around the world in April but far more
    Chernobyl/CIH employs a "spacefilling" technique that clogs up a
    computer's hard-disk storage system, crashing most systems and in many
    cases making restart impossible. 
    Western virus experts first traced Chernobyl/CIH to Taiwan in June 1998
    and said it had spread worldwide via the Internet and other networks
    within a week. 
    Chernobyl's virulence and Taiwan's seemingly lenient handling of its
    author have kindled a debate about how the world should combat viruses. 
    In the United States, where the Melissa virus's spewing of duplicate
    e-mail messages forced many firms to shut down their overtaxed computer
    networks, alleged author David Smith faces the possibility of 40 years in
    prison if convicted. 
    ZDNet writer Robert Lemos, in an Internet dispatch, said Taiwan's Chen
    "was not prosecuted, but merely reprimanded and given a demerit" by his
    "The immense differences in punishment illustrate a large rift in
    perceptions over the seriousness of computer viruses," Lemos wrote, adding
    that while "Melissa was essentially benign, CIH was deadly to some
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