(Yicai Global) Dec. 7 -- Police in southern China said they have arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of hatching a ransomware scheme that has locked files on more than 100,000 computers and demands payment via WeChat Pay to access them.
Law enforcement officers in the industrial city of Dongguan identified and detained the man, surnamed Luo, after a report from Tencent Holdings, operator of the popular messaging and online payment app, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement yesterday. The media have described him as an "internet addict."
The case is the first of its kind in China and its successful conclusion has checked the further spread of the malware.
The ransom/bcrypt malware invades computers, encrypts files and forces affected users to scan a WeChat QR code that makes a CNY110 (USD16) payment to obtain a decryption key. Beijing Huorong Network Technology, an internet security software developer, fielded user requests earlier this week for help from the attacks that started last week, it said on Dec. 4.
Luo is said to have illegally accessed over 50,000 passwords and user information on the Taobao e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group Holding, its Alipay third-party payment platform, cloud service Baidu Wangpan and emails, with more than 100,000 computers affected.
The public prosecutor has referred formal criminal charges against Luo, whose full name cannot be disclosed for legal reasons. The case is ongoing.
Editor: Ben Armour