With one of the corniest titles you’ll see (Pinch authors Pinched), the Kaspersky blog in Russia stated that the original authors of the Pinch trojan have been arrested:
“Today Nikolay Patrushev, head of the Federal Security Services, announced the results of the measures taken to combat cyber crime in 2007.
Among other information, it was announced that it had been established who was the author of the notorious Pinch Trojan – two Russian virus writers called Ermishkin and Farkhutdinov. The investigation will soon be completed and taken to court.”
Maybe this focus by the Federal Security Services helps explain some of the motivations for the Russian Business Network’s moves to China and Central America.
The arrest themselves are a pretty big deal, along the lines of the more recent Zotob author’s and distributor’s arrests. According to the KAV log:
“The arrest of the Pinch authors is on a level with the arrests of other well known virus writers such as the author of NetSky and Sasser, and the authors of the Chernobyl and Melissa viruses.”
Interestingly, it seems that the author of the Pinch code and the distributors that use it to infect millions of computers are different people. Here is another take on the announcement:
“FSB Chief, Patrushev, reported that FSB has arrested Ermishkin and Farkhutdinov, who created and deployed the Pinch trojan into tens of millions of PCs around the world.”
The assembly source that I’ve seen from version 1.0 contains a different name, “Alex”. The two recently arrested most likely used the code to create and infect systems, and most likely were not the original author. We’ll look for corrections in reports.