Tokyo police on Tuesday turned over to prosecutors their case against a 15-year-old high school student suspected of hacking into some 140 Web sites in 23 countries and regions and defacing them with slogans opposing the war in Iraq.

According to the cybercrime unit of the Metropolitan Police Department, the youth, who lives in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, hacked into the Web sites of private firms, government organs and educational institutions in Asia, the United States and Europe. The teen holds the dubious honor of having caused the most damage by a Japan-based hacker, they said.

According to investigators, the teen said he began studying hacking techniques when he was in the second year of junior high school because he admired computer hackers.

Police said he told them that he and a friend started trying to hack into computers around November because they wanted to write antiwar messages.

“I first started hacking into Web sites in the U.S. and Britain, but after a while, it didn’t matter where the sites were,” the youth was quoted as saying. “I was happy to see my techniques improving.”

According to investigations, the student used a personal computer at his home to set up a so-called attack program to alter the contents of a Web site in Slovakia at around 2:40 p.m. March 28.

Using this program, he allegedly went through a server in Thailand to alter the contents of a Web site managed by a company employee in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward to make a message reading “stop the war” appear on the site.

The teen always signed his work with the name “Sunakuzira,” police said.

He apparently downloaded the attack program from the Internet and used the server in Thailand to find foreign sites without being traced.

Police discovered the teen’s hacking work while trolling the Net in search of cybercrimes and tracked him down through his transmission records.

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