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Zotob authors jailed
by Konstantin Kornakov | Sep 14 2006 08:56 GMT

The authors of the now infamous Zotob worm have been jailed in Morocco, more than a year after they were apprehended in August 2005. The worm gained global prominence after it affected several news agencies and high-profile media outlets such as CNN and The New York Times. Two men believed to be the authors of Zotob, Farid Essebar and Achraf Bahloul, were detained in Morocco just weeks after the release of the worm into the wild. Essebar, who used the nickname "Diabl0”, which was found in the worm code, was also believed to be responsible for the release of many other pieces of malware.

According to a press release by the FBI, the Moroccan court convicted the 19-year old Essebar and 20-year old Bahloul on charges of conspiracy and illegal access to computer systems among others. Essebar received a sentence of two years, while Bahloul will spend a year in jail. A third man, named by the FBI as Atilla Ekici, was also arrested in Turkey at the same time last year, and is facing charges of financing the Zotob attack. All three are also believed to have been involved in a wider cybercriminal ring that stole credit cards and committed online fraud. It is thought that both men jailed in Morocco are lodging appeals against their convictions.

The FBI has praised the Moroccan authorities for their role in bringing both Essebar and Bahloul to justice. Other parties involved in the investigation were the Turkish National Police and Microsoft, highlighting the global nature of modern cybercrime.