Meagre fine for Russian virus writer

A Russian virus writer has been found guilty of writing malicious code – but fined only $105 for doing so.

Eugene Suchkov, of the infamous 29A virus writing outfit, admitted writing the Stepan and Gastropod viruses. He also confessed to making source code and additional code available so that variants of the virus could be produced.

"The fine is lower than some others we have seen," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "But I think the prosecution sends a good message. In actual fact his wasn't the most destructive of creations, I don't even think we saw any versions of it in the wild."

Suchkov is known by the nickname "Whale", and is part of a virus writing group that actually originates from Spain. 29A made headlines recently when applications company Zoner Software hired one of their members, a Czech virus writer known as "Benny".

The last year has shown a significant rise in cybercrime arrests and prosecutions culminating in the capture of the author of the Netsky and Sasser viruses and Jeffrey Parson, who alleged wrote Blaster-B.

"Laws are beginning to be tried in practise," said Cluley. "It's a good sign that international cooperation and new laws are having an effect."

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