By Robert McMillan
September 12, 2006
IDG News Service
Two Moroccan men have been jailed for releasing the Zotob computer worm,
which wreaked havoc on an estimated 250,000 Windows PCs last year.
Farid Essebar, 19, of Morocco was sentenced to two years in prison on
Tuesday by a Moroccan court, according to a report by Agence
France-Presse. An accomplice, Achraf Bahloul, also of Morocco, received
a one-year sentence, the report said.
A third man, 22 year-old Atilla Ekici, of Turkey has been charged with
financing the attack, which shut down PCs in a number of major
corporations in mid-August 2005.
The worm primarily affected Windows 2000 systems, taking advantage of a
bug in the operating system's Plug and Play service that had been
patched by Microsoft just days before the outbreak.
Though it did not infect as many computers as more widespread worms such
as Sasser or MyDoom, Zotob did take out systems at media outlets,
including Cable News Network LP LLLP (CNN), prompting widespread
Ekici and Essebar, known also by their hacker names of "Coder" and
"Diabl0," respectively, were arrested just 12 days after the release of
Zotob, but authorities had also been investigating 16 other individuals
in connection with a credit card theft ring that may have been linked to
It is not unusual for hackers to create networks of compromised
computers, like the one created by the Zotob worm, for identity theft,
said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with antivirus vendor
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