Arrest for 'housebreaker who installed spyware'

Filed Under: Law & order, Malware

According to media reports from Japan, police have arrested a man who is believed to have broken into a house and installed spyware on his victims' computer.

Police claim that 37-year-old Takamasa Kondo stole a door key to a Tokyo apartment from its mailbox, and installed a copy of the BugBear virus onto the victim's PC. The virus grabbed keystrokes as the innocent party logged into his bank account, allegedly allowing Kondon to break into the bank account from an internet cafe and steal 9 million yen (approximately US $100,000).

There are a few things about this story that are unusual. The first is that, if what the police claim is true, the hacker directly installed the malware onto the victim's PC. Although this is not unprecedented, it is much more usual for cybercriminals to not put themselves at personal risk or danger, and hide behind email and internet websites to infect computers.

Secondly, the BugBear virus?? Wow, that's a blast from the past. Back in 2002 and 2003, the BugBear worm hit hard, spreading rapidly via email attachments and network shares, and aided by exploiting a Microsoft security hole. It's somewhat bizarre to hear it referred to in this case.

Police in Tokyo are still investigating, and have alleged that Kondo also had in his possession the bank account details of 20 other individuals.

* Image source: YAXZONE's Flickr photostream (Creative Commons 2.0)

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.