a The Transit Lounge: A Squid, A Hacker and Japan

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Wednesday, August 25

A Squid, A Hacker and Japan

I had completely forgotten about this post - it's been sitting in my drafts for a while now. The basic gist of the story is that back in 2008, a computer virus, Harada, spread across Japan by an image from a popular anime series called Clannad. With the love Japanese have for anime, you can understand why the virus became widespread in a short amount of time. The person responsible was Masato Nakatsuji, a 24-year old nerd/research assistant.

The main issue at the time was not just because of the damaged the virus inflicted, but mainly due to Japan not having any laws to convict him. And Japan being Japan and not able to make any decisions, it took several months for authorities to convict Nakatsuji on copyright infringement for using the Clannad anime image. He got a three-year suspended sentence.

Fast forward to present day and a 27-year old Nakatsuji is at it again. And he has gotten around the harsh Japanese copyright infringement laws by drawing his own images to represent his virus - he has taken a liking to squid, sea urchins and octopus. This time the virus works by having his drawings replace important files which can't be recovered. The longer it's active, the more files it replaces - and transfers to a server run by Nakatsuji. So far around, 50,000 PCs have been infected.

When asked why he did it, Nakatsuji responded that he wanted to see how far his programming skills had developed. Ok, fair enough....but they've obviously not progressed enough for him to cover his own tracks.

Just like the Japanese laws have not progressed their laws in any way, shape or form since Nakatsuji's 2004 attack to include cyber space. This time, they're trying to charge him with destruction of property.

They always say that the law catches up to technology. But they have never been to Japan.

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