CBC News: Two arrested for Zotob worm
The FBI said Friday that Morocco and Turkey have arrested two people believed responsible for the Zotob computer worm that infected networks at U.S. companies and government agencies earlier this month.
Farid Essebar, 18, was arrested in Morocco and Atilla Ekici, 21, was arrested in Turkey.
Louis M. Riegel, the FBI's assistant director for cyber crimes, said they will be prosecuted in those countries.
Riegel said Essebar wrote the code that attacked computers with Windows operating systems and Ekici paid him for it, adding it's unclear they ever met, "but they certainly knew each other via the Internet." Riegel said he does not know how much money changed hands.
The Zotob worm and its variations targeted computers that run Microsoft Corp. operating systems, with Windows 2000 users most seriously affected.
The worm disrupted computer operations in mid-August at several large news organizations, including The Associated Press, ABC, CNN, and The New York Times; such companies as heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc.; and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau.
Microsoft and FBI officials declined to estimate the financial damage done by the Zotob worm and its variations, but experts said the damage probably wouldn't be substantial because most companies made the necessary software fixes quickly.
The worm emerged just a week after Microsoft had warned of a security flaw and released a "critical" patch for it.
Zotob and its variations can attack a computer without needing to open any software, so some users would be infected without knowing it.
The FBI said the pair is believed responsible for an earlier worm, Mytob, that first showed up in February.