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Computer virus creator arrested again

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A 27-year-old company employee from Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, has been arrested on suspicion of creating a computer virus and spreading it on the Internet, destroying data on infected computers, police said Wednesday.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Police Department arrested Masato Nakatsuji on property destruction charges.

He became the first computer virus creator to whom such charges have been applied.

Computers infected with the virus display illustrations of squid (ika) and octopus (tako) on their screens. The virus has thus been dubbed ika-tako.

Nakatsuji was arrested for a separate crime in 2008. He was found to have made what was known as the Harada virus, which caused affected computers to display an image of an actual person named Harada.

In May that year, the Kyoto District Court sentenced him to two years in prison, suspended for three years. He did not appeal the case, leaving the ruling to be finalized.

Regarding the recent case, Nakatsuji told investigators he had infected about 50,000 people's computers with his new virus.

The police have so far confirmed that about 20,000 people have suffered damage from the virus.

According to the police, Nakatsuji made a file containing his virus available via the Winny file-sharing software around May 23 at home.

A 37-year-old man in Hokkaido downloaded the virus onto his personal computer on June 23, with the result that he lost some data.

Nakatsuji allegedly made the virus around July last year.

Nakatsuji admitted the allegations, and he told the police that he thought he would not be arrested this time, the police said.

In the previous case, he became the first person arrested in Japan as a creator of a computer virus. His arrest this time was the third of its kind.

In the previous case, Nakatsuji was charged with defamation and violation of the Copyright Law.

The police this time decided to charge Nakatsuji over property destruction due to characteristics of the data-destroying virus.

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