YOKOHAMA–Japanese police arrested their first suspect related to ransomware–a 14-year-old boy who said he created the malicious software out of curiosity.
Kanagawa prefectural police arrested the third-grade junior high school student who lives in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, on June 5 on suspicion of creating and storing ransomware, a type of computer virus that is typically sent through e-mails as a document file.
Once opened, the malware encrypts or locks data on the infected computer, and a monetary payment is demanded the safe return of the data.
The student submitted to voluntary questioning and told police that he created the ransomware to test his ability as a programmer, the sources said.
“I tested my skills, and I could make one,” he was quoted as saying to police.
According to the source, the student gathered the necessary data from overseas websites to create the ransomware on his home computer in January.
He uploaded the malware on another overseas website, making it available for others to download. He also posted links to the website on Twitter.
If a computer became infected with the virus, a message would pop up demanding a “fine” to restore the machine.
The student told police that “more than 100 people downloaded it” from the website, according to the source. 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 universities in China.