• Kyodo News

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Tokyo police said Wednesday they have arrested a 27-year-old man in Osaka on suspicion of using a computer virus to destroy stored data.

Masato Nakatsuji is believed to have destroyed computer property by using an “ika-tako” (squid-octopus) virus to change icons for data files in infected computers into humorous octopus illustrations.

Nakatsuji is the first person in Japan to be charged with destroying property by tampering with data through a computer virus, the police said.

“I wanted to see if my programming skills had improved or not. I (also) wanted to punish users of file-sharing software,” Nakatsuji was quoted as saying by police. Fire-sharing software is often used to illegally copy copyrighted music and video titles over the Internet.

Nakatsuji, who owned up to the data destruction, created the virus in July 2009 and distributed it through file-sharing software the following month, affecting about 50,000 people, they said.

Nakatsuji had been on probation after being given a suspended two-year prison term in 2008 for copyright infringement through computer virus production.

The infections spread when people used file-sharing software to acquire movies or music files that had been tainted with the virus, which was designed to transform stored data into pictures of octopus or squid, the police said.

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