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'Unstable' Hacker Faces Jail Time
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 01:56:04 -0500 (CDT)


By Alexander Boreiko 
Jun. 20, 2001

Leonid Kuznetsov may give up hard drives for hard time as the
17-year-old faces up to three years in prison after being charged with
unleashing a dangerous computer virus.

Investigators say Kuznetsov sent the virus disguised as a
password-selecting program to Marat Demin, a user of the Fido computer
network, a forerunner to the Internet on which users often swap
programs. In a statement, Demin says the virus wiped out all the data
on his hard drive.

Because Fido users make a direct connection with each other, Demin
knew Kuznetsov's telephone number, so it was not hard for police to
find him and conduct a search. Kuznetsov's computer was taken as
evidence and files and outgoing codes of the virus were found on the
hard drive.

Kuznetsov confirmed that on Feb. 1 police confiscated his computer.

The hearing against Kuznetsov is set to begin in the Lyublinsky court
in Moscow. He will not be present after a psychological examination
determined he is psychologically unstable.

However, only sound-minded individuals can stand accused of committing
a crime under Article 273 of the Criminal Code, which governs the
creation, use and distribution of harmful computer programs.

Those found guilty under Article 273 face prison sentences of up to
three years. According to police departments responsible for
investigating high-tech crimes, last year a total of 109 cases were
opened against creators and distributors of viruses.

Kuznetsov said that at an interrogation with investigator Dmitry
Stasyuk on April 25, he was forced to sign an incriminating statement
after initially refusing. He claims investigators used psychological

"They forced me to sign the statement. They threatened that if I
didn't, they'd give me seven years for banditry and another two or
three for false statements. Then they called me in to the 68th
precinct, where the officers frightened me and tried to force me to
sign the statement," Kuznetsov said.

Kuznetsov said he bought the hard drive with the virus texts at the
Mitinsky market just before the processor was confiscated. Kuznetsov
was subsequently sent for a psychological examination, after which he
was declared unstable. He could face mandatory treatment at a
psychological hospital.

Kuznetsov said that only his mother, Tatyana, who was appointed his
legal representative, knew the details of the case. The investigator
told the accused that since he had been declared psychologically
unstable, the court was not obliged to acquaint him with the case

The Kaspersky Laboratories company, which specializes in anti-virus
software, participated in the court examination and said Kuznetsov is
the author of a multitude of viruses, all of which have wiped out
programs on victims' hard disks.

Kaspersky programmers say viruses of this kind are quite widespread on
the Fido network and are concealed as useful programs.

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