Japanese authorities on Monday arrested a 14-year-old boy for creating a ransomware virus similar to WannaCry which was responsible for global cyberattacks last month. The boy, a student at a secondary school in Osaka prefecture, is accused of creating the ransomware -- a malware, or malicious software programme that limits or prevents users from accessing the computer or files unless they pay a ransom -- through free encryption software, Efe news reported.
The student, who admitted to the allegations, then uploaded it to a foreign website and taught users of the platform to download and use it, according to sources quoted by the Kyodo news agency. This ransomware, which has been downloaded 100 times, allowed the user to infect the victim's computer and asked for virtual currency as ransom, although the economic toll has not yet been confirmed, added the same sources.
The young boy, who supposedly learned by himself how to create this type of programme, revealed to the investigating authorities that he only wanted to become famous, according to state television channel NHK. His arrest comes after WannaCry's ransomware hit at least 150 countries and health centres in the UK, large companies in France and Spain, railways networks in Germany, public institutions in Russia and universities in China.
Some 600 Japanese companies, including Hitachi and Nissan, were affected by this cyberattack. Japanese IT security company Trend Micro has detected more than 65,000 ransomware attacks over the past year in Japan, a figure 10 times higher than that of the previous year.