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China detains 6 over 'panda' virus


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BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- China has detained six men in their 20s for writing or profiting from a computer virus dubbed the "joss-stick burning panda" which has infected over a million PCs in the country, local media said on Wednesday.

The worm wreaked havoc among individual and corporate users in China in a late 2006 outbreak, deleting files, damaging programs and attacking web portals.

It got its name from changing icons on desktops into cute cartoon pandas, the most famous of which holds three burning joss-sticks in his paws.

Chinese media have said that the worm was able to steal account names of online gamers and instant messengers, which are hotly traded with real money in China's cyberspace.

Police held Li Jun, 25 a native of Wuhan city in central China, who wrote the virus in October and had earned more than 100,000 yuan ($12,890) by selling it to about 120 people, the Beijing News said.

The other five, from three different provinces, were detained for updating and spreading the virus or for profiting from the stolen account names, the Beijing News said.

"It is the first time our country has cracked a major computer virus case," it added.

China's booming Internet is filled with technology-savvy youngsters, but problems such as addiction to online games, hacking and virtual property theft are on the rise.

CNN News

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