Japanese authorities arrested a 14-year-old boy on Monday (June 05) from Osaka Prefecture for allegedly creating a ransomware virus similar to WannaCry which was responsible for global cyber attacks last month. This is the first such arrest in Japan, police said.

The third-year junior high school student is accused of creating ransomware through free encryption software.

 A Ransomware is a malware or malicious software programme that limits or prevents users from accessing the computer or files unless they pay a ransom.

His arrest comes after WannaCry’s ransomware hit at least 150 countries and health centres in the UK, large companies in France and Spain, railways networks in Germany, public institutions in Russia and 2 universities in China. Some 600 Japanese companies, including Hitachi and Nissan, were affected by this cyberattack. 

According to sources, the student who admitted the allegations of creating the ransomware on January 06, uploaded the malware to a foreign website and taught users of the platform to download and use it through social media. People who downloaded the malware could also be charged with violating the law on acquiring electromagnetic records by illegal command.

This ransomware, which has been downloaded 100 times, allowed the user to infect the victim’s computer and asked for virtual currency as ransom, although the economic toll has not yet been confirmed.

He told investigators it took him about three days to create the ransomware using his personal computer. The young boy, who supposedly learned by himself how to create this type of programme, revealed that he only wanted to become famous.

The boy participated in a computer skills class on how to assemble a personal computer when he was in elementary school.

Japanese IT security company Trend Micro has detected more than 65,000 ransomware attacks over the past year in Japan, a figure 10 times higher than that of the previous year.

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