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Man arrested in Britain in hacking case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI and Scotland Yard announced Tuesday the arrest of a 24-year old man who they say was responsible for a computer virus known as the "Leaves worm," which surfaced in early July in home users' Windows-based computer systems.

In Washington, the FBI said the suspect was taken into custody in the United Kingdom on July 23, but authorities refused to identify the nationality of the suspect. They said the arrest was kept secret until now to avoid compromising an international investigation.

Under British law the suspect's name may not yet be released.

Authorities say the suspect was arrested on charges of "designing and propagating malicious code, known as the W32-Leave.worm into Windows-based computer systems." The FBI said home-users' computers without updated anti-virus software were primarily infected by this worm.

"This particular worm allowed the intruder access to an infected system while the victim machine was connected to the Internet," authorities said.

Anti-virus groups say the Leaves worm arrived as an e-mail that appeared to come from Microsoft as a security bulletin. It was discovered July 9.

The threat assessment for both damage and distribution was rated "low" by the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center.

The Leaves worm received far less attention than the Code Red Worm that appeared a few weeks later and prompted warnings from the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center.

• Federal Bureau of Investigation
• The Metropolitan Police Service (Scotland Yard)
• Symantec Security Updates

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