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Computer Virus Writer Provides Antidote
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Police will release an anti-virus program written by the author of the notorious computer virus Xiongmao Shaoxiang, or "panda burning joss stick," next week, an officer said yesterday.

Computer users can download the program from the Internet for free after police have tested it, said Ye Tieguan, vice-director of the police bureau in Xiantao, Hubei Province.

Primary tests showed the program, which was written by virus author Li Jun, was effective, the police officer said.

Li, who has been arrested, told the police that he wrote the program to kill "panda burning joss stick" virus after knowing millions of computers had been infected, but he did not release it because he was afraid police would find him.

Li said he wrote the "panda" virus just for fun; however, the authorities said Tuesday he had confessed to selling the virus to 12 people for 100,000 yuan (US$12,887).

The virus, which infects program files and flashes a picture of a panda holding three joss sticks, has been spreading through the Internet and infected millions of computers nationwide since December.

The virus can also steal the account names and passwords of on-line game players and popular chat sites. It was listed as the worst computer virus last year by Rising, a major Chinese anti-virus company.

Police in Hubei said they had arrested six people, including Li Jun, in connection with the spread of the virus, marking this the first time arrests were made in connection with an Internet virus originating in China.

(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2007)

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