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Zotob Authors were arrested in Europe by FBI

August 29th, 2005

Local law-enforcement authorities of Morocco and Turkey, in co-operation with the FBI, have arrested two people on charges of creating and unleashing the worm. Microsoft Internet Crime Team worked closely with the law agencies to provide technical support during the investigation.

Faid Essebar, 18, Morocco national and Atilla Ekici, 21, resident of Turkey, are believed to have been responsible for the creation of the Zotob worm that hit the Internet two weeks ago, few days after Microsoft announced the vulnerability it exploited.

“With the help of Moroccan authorities, Ministry of Interior Turkish National Police, and valuable assistance from Microsoft Corporation, these individuals were arrested yesterday without incident.” the FBI said in a press release.

“We congratulate the Turkish and Moroccan authorities and the FBI for finding and apprehending the alleged authors and distributors of the Zotob and Mytob worms so quickly,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft.

“This arrest demonstrates the value of public-private collaboration — the first-class investigative work by the authorities and round-the-clock technical and investigative support provided by our Internet Crime Investigations Team here at Microsoft. The results show clearly that cyber criminals will be identified, apprehended and held accountable for their actions,” he added.

Even though the FBI does not at this point know the real motives of the authors, it appears that they were paid to create the worm and are likely part of an Internet organized crime.

The authors will face prosecution in their native countries and the FBI will provide evidence.

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