Philippine police said Saturday they were awaiting a judge's warrant to arrest the hacker suspected of creating the "Love Bug" virus that has crippled computers worldwide. But the scramble to find a judge on the weekend means an arrest likely won't come until Sunday at the earliest, according to a report by msnbc.com.
Nelson Bartoleme, head of the National Bureau of Investigation's anti-fraud and computer crimes division, was quoted as saying bureau agents had placed the suspect under watch. "Our operatives are out in the field for surveillance," he said.
NBC News reported from Manila that police believe a 23-year-old man who lives in the Manila neighborhood of Pandacan is the hacker behind the logons "Spider" and "Mail Me." They've traced him to an internet access provider that sells access cards for the equivalent of $2. That card may have allowed him to cripple computer networks in at least 20 countries, Colt reported.
National Bureau of Investigation officials said they had not yet confronted the suspect and would not say why.
While bureau officials would give few further details, they did say that only one man is at the focus of their investigations, and one official, who requested anonymity, told NBC News correspondent Pete Williams that authorities are simply waiting for a search warrant to be issued by Philippines judges.
Investigators told Colt that 20 detectives were in the field conducting interviews and carrying out surveillance in coordination with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. But even if they have the right man, what charges he would face are unclear. "Cybercrime" was virtually unheard of in the Philippines until now, and there aren't even laws to deal with it.
WORST VIRUS YET
The ILOVEYOU virus is being called the worst computer virus outbreak ever. Early guesses by Computer Economics Inc. suggest that 45 million people received the bug and that it caused perhaps $10 billion in damages and lost labor.
At least seven mutations are worming their way around the Internet, several with even more devastating payloads than the original. But the federally funded CERT Coordination Center, the official US clearinghouse of computer security information, said reports of fresh virus outbreaks slowed considerably at the close of business Friday. There were some indications, however, that a new round of infections could begin Monday, when Japanese firms will have to deal with ILOVEYOU for the first time. Most Japanese businesses have been closed since Wednesday - a day before the virus hit - for the Golden Week holidays – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)