Police arrest Tokyo man in malicious computer hacking case

February 10, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Police on Feb. 10 arrested a 30-year-old man in Tokyo on suspicion of spreading a computer virus that led to the wrongful arrests of four men, after threats of mass murder and bombs were posted from their PCs.

Yusuke Katayama was arrested on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business for using the computer virus to remotely access the computers of others and send out threats through them, including mass murder in a school and on the streets of Osaka.

An individual who claimed to be the suspect sent an e-mail on Jan. 5 to The Asahi Shimbun and other media organizations. As was described in the e-mail, a cat was found in a public square in Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture, with a collar containing a memory card. Police investigators analyzed the memory card.

One file stored on the memory card was programmed to display a document that said, "In the past, I became involved in an incident and although I was innocent I was forced to radically revise the course in life I had taken."

Also contained in the memory card was the source code for the computer virus that was used to remotely access the computers of others.

Those factors led police to conclude that the individual who placed the collar on the cat was the culprit in the crimes. They identified Katayama as the suspect through an analysis of video images from security cameras.

According to sources close to the investigation, Katayama is suspected of posting a message from a computer at a company in Aichi Prefecture last August to the 2channel Internet bulletin board threatening mass murder at a gathering of comics fans.

Between June and September last year, four men were mistakenly arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department as well as the prefectural police departments of Kanagawa, Osaka and Mie on suspicion of posting threats to a local government website, a kindergarten and an Internet bulletin board. They included a bomb threat to Japan Airlines Co. and threats of blowing up Ise Jingu shrine in Mie Prefecture.

The four men were eventually freed after being detained for up to nearly a month, and police officials apologized for the wrongful arrests.

In December, the National Police Agency designated the series of cybercrimes as a special case and offered a maximum reward of 3 million yen ($32,000) for information leading to an arrest.

The individual who claimed to be the suspect sent an e-mail to a Tokyo lawyer last year taunting police and prosecutors. The message said in part, "I am the true culprit. Thank you for playing with me." The individual also apologized for implicating the four men.

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Please see related articles at:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201210160118

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201210220084

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Police escort Yusuke Katayama from his residence in Tokyo early in the morning of Feb. 10. (Takuya Kitazawa)

Police escort Yusuke Katayama from his residence in Tokyo early in the morning of Feb. 10. (Takuya Kitazawa)

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  • Police escort Yusuke Katayama from his residence in Tokyo early in the morning of Feb. 10. (Takuya Kitazawa)

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