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August 24, 2017

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Engineer arrested for illegal software ers

The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) yesterday announced the arrest of a Taiwan computer engineer for allegedly designing computer software programs used by Chinese hackers to attack computer systems on the island.

Officials of the CIB under the National Police Administration (NPA) said Wang An-ping, 30, was booked last week at his residence in Kaohsiung.

There are currently two versions of the "Peep" program developed by Wang that have attracted many users who can download the programs for free.

Wang, a bachelor, said he spent most of his free time on designing software programs and surfing the Internet. He had intended to sell the "Peep" system but couldn't find a buyer. He then set up his own Web site to offer the system free of charge. For his efforts, Wang is claimed to be "the pride of Taiwan" by his friends and computer buffs who know about the easy-to-use software.

But some hackers, including those in China, have been using Wang's program to make unauthorized invasions of other people's Web sites, including many government agencies and financial institutions.

Experts at the CIB described the "Peep" system developed by Wang as an advanced "Trojan horse" type software that enable people to use the Peep.exe and Peep Browser.exe programs to bypass the firewalls of most Web Sites and automatically steal the data.

Wang acknowledged that he frequently interacted with computer software engineers in China via the Net.

But he told the police that he did not know his system has been employed by hackers to attack government and private computer systems in Taiwan.

The police said Wang might have wanted only to show off his skills, but he should be aware what harm this could cause.

The CIB began a probe months ago after noticing confidential government data had been stolen by hackers. They then discovered "Peep" was responsible for the theft of data from hundreds of Taiwan schools, companies and government agencies. The attacks were traced back to China.

The police said Wang has broken the new rules against computer crimes adopted in June last year, including the unauthorized breaking into other people's computer systems, retrieving others' computer data, and supplying tools for hacking into others' computer systems.

In Wang's computer system, the police also uncovered some secret codes belonging to others.

If convicted on charges of vandalizing public and corporate property, he could face up to five years in jail, police said.

Police said companies and agencies victimized by the hacking may visit the CIB's Web site to download the anti-virus program free of charge to eliminate Wang's "Peep" programs.

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