The Trojan horse, known as Peep, which has allowed hackers access to sensitive government information, is alleged to have been written by 30 year old Wang Ping-an. Ping-an has been charged with vandalising public and corporate property, and faces a five year jail sentence if convicted.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, made the following statement regarding the virus:
"A 30-year-old computer engineer can't use the excuse that he didn't know what he was doing if he writes and distributes a malicious piece of code." If found guilty it's quite possible that he will receive a tough sentence - particularly as it is being suggested that the Trojan may have left open a backdoor for Chinese hackers to exploit.
Taiwanese computer crime authorities began investigating a few months ago when it became clear that confidential government data was being stolen by hackers. The virus was discovered on goverment systems, and it is claimed that it is responsible for the theft of data from hundreds of government agencies, schools and companies across Taiwan.
The worldwide police community is clearly stepping up its efforts against writers of viruses, worms and trojans, with more arrests being reported than ever before. Whether or not this will deter virus writers from creating more illegal software is something that only time will tell. We'll keep you posted.