Mass murder' Trojan causes mayhem in Japan

Trouble-making Trojan lands anime artist in jail and grounds JAL flight.

Two men arrested in Japan on suspicion of making mass murder threats online have been released after police discovered that malware likely caused their PCs to post the claims.

One of the suspects released in late September was Masaki Kitamura, a story board artist and assistant director of a popular anime TV series “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”.

Kitamura was arrested on August 27, accused of using the inquiry page of Osaka city’s official website in July to post a threat that a person would commit mass murder in a popular shopping district.

According to, the message read: “I’m going to commit a massacre in the city in early August. I’m going to ram a truck into pedestrians, then stab whoever I can with a knife before committing suicide.” 

He was also suspected of emailing a bomb threat to Japanese Airlines (JAL) on August 1, which caused an aircraft bound for New York to return to Tokyo, according to Japan Times.

Police traced the first threat to an IP address used by Kitamura and had reportedly taken it seriously because a similar threat was made prior to the murder of seven people in Tokyo in 2008.

Kitamura denied the accusation but was charged over the alleged threats for obstructing police and city work.

The link to malware appears to have been made after a second person, 28 year-old man, was arrested on September 14 for threatening to destroy the Ise Grand Shinto shrine in the Mie prefecture.

Investigations revealed that both men had downloaded free photo editing software that installed malware. Both were released on September 21.

Symantec on Thursday confirmed the malware in question had the capabilities to allow its controller to make the threats the two men were accused of.

The malware can affect Windows NT to Windows 7 systems, but is not currently widespread, according to Symantec. 

Another threat linked to the malware was an email threatening the kindergarten attended by a child of the royal family, according to Symantec employee, Joji Hamada.

“From our analysis, we have confirmed that the malware is capable of controlling a compromised computer from a remote location, which is not anything new to malware. Furthermore, from the various functions we have confirmed, the creator has the capability to command the malware to make the threats mentioned above,” wrote Hamada.

Hamada said Symantec believed the person who wrote created the malware had a “good understanding of the Japanese language” because the coding used to process encrypted communications with them was written in Japanese.   



Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Liam Tung

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place