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8/30/2005
03:42 PM
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Accused Zotob Hacker May Be Behind 21 Other Worms

Farid Essebar, 18, also known as "Diabl0," may have written 20 variations of the Mytob mass-mailed worm and one version of the MyDoom worm.

More details are emerging about the hacker history of one of the two men arrested last week on suspicion of creating and distributing the Zotob bot worm earlier in August.

According to the analysis conducted by U.K.-based security vendor Sophos, Farid Essebar, 18, also known as "Diabl0," may have written 20 variations of the Mytob mass-mailed worm and one version of the MyDoom worm.

"It is not unusual for malware authors to leave their handles inside their malicious code, sometimes alongside other messages," said Sophos in a statement. The company said its researchers had found 21 other worms with the Diabl0 handle included in their code.

Of the 21, 20 are Mytob variants, ranging from Mytob.a to Mytob.gz; two of Sophos' most recent Top 10 list of viruses and worms appear to have been authored by Essebar, said Sophos.

"The Mytob worms have made a significant impact on the virus outbreak charts this year, so anything which may prevent future variants from being developed and released must be welcomed," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, in a statement.

However, Cluley cautioned -- as have other analysts -- that it's probable other hackers have access to the Mytob source code, a fact that many think is the root cause of the more than 200 variants seen so far this year.

"It appears whoever wrote Zotob had access to the Mytob source code, ripped out the email-spreading section and plugged in the Microsoft exploit," added Cluley.

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