Infamous Zotob virus author 'Diabl0' arrested in Thailand on phishing charges

Swiss police ask for extradition

On-the-run hacker Farid Essebar, best known for writing the 2005 Zotob worm using the handle 'Diabl0', has been arrested by police in Thailand on new charges connected to phishing Swiss online banking sites.

According to local media, 27 year-old Moroccan-born Russian citizen Essebar, was arrested in Bangkok on 17 March after a request by the Swiss authorities who accuse him of running phishing campaigns targeting online banks in the country.

Believed to have been resident in Thailand for three to four years, police there have been monitoring him since 2012. The arrest was made as Essebar returned from Hong Kong while he was accompanied by other alleged gang members.

''We arrested the suspect at a condominium on Rama IV Road. Next Thailand will send him to Switzerland within 90 days in accordance with the extradition agreement,'' a spokesperson for the Thai police reportedly said.

Essebar's two Russian associates are also in police custody.

News of the arrest would probably receive little attention if Essebar hadn't already acquired notoriety as the prolific teen author of the Zotob Windows 2000 worm as well as of a dozen of more other pieces of malware. Victims of Zotob alone included CNN, DHS, the Financial Times the New York Times, and ABC.

He was eventually arrested on that count by Moroccan police in August 2005, spending a year in jail for his trouble.

Despite his presentation as a malware mastermind, his Zotob creation was almost certainly engineered from the source code of the better-known Mytob worm that was still causing problems for organisations as recently as 2011.

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