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Virus programmer goes to jail

A PROGRAMMER has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for adding a computer virus to a local information technology company's software products, a court said yesterday.

The company almost went bankrupt due to its damaged reputation as it lost more than 250,000 yuan (US$36,583).

In the trial of last instance, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court upheld the original ruling made earlier this year by Yangpu District People's Court.

During the National Day holiday in 2007, the IT company received dozens of complaints from clients.

The clients said their computer data was deleted automatically after using the company's software and asked to terminate contracts due to poor product quality.

The company checked all its software products and found two programs were infected with a harmful virus. The viruses worked to delete all documents in a computer after October 1, 2007.

Both products were designed by Liaoning Province native Pu Jiazhi. Pu resigned before October 1, 2007, saying his grandmother was seriously ill and he needed to return home to care for her.

The police appointed computer experts to examine Pu's computer. Experts found Pu had designed two viruses, which were the same as those found in the two software products, though he had deleted some documents on his computer before resignation.

Pu was soon caught and charged with destroying computer systems.

He argued in court that he made a mistake and didn't intend to destroy clients' computers. He said he designed two anti-virus programs because his private computer was hit by a virus. But he failed to complete them and later forgot about the programs.

Prosecutors refuted Pu's argument and said the programs were intentionally designed to delete documents. They added that there was no anti-virus function in the programs. In addition, the two viruses were closely related to the software. Once the programs were opened, the viruses would start automatically.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court upheld the sentence, ruling Pu purposefully added the viruses to the programs.

The company won the forgiveness of its clients, but still had to pay more than 250,000 yuan in compensation.


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