A suspect in the ILOVEYOU virus case has been arrested in the Philippines.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is taking part in the investigation, but a spokeswoman would only confirm that Filipino authorities have executed a search warrant in the case and the investigation is ongoing.
The Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is leading the local effort, with the FBI and the International Police (Interpol) also participating.
Confusion According to ABS-CBN, the broadcast network in the Philippines, authorities arrested Rommel Ramos, a 32-year-old employee of a bank computer division. However, other news reports have listed different ages for the suspect, and some are reporting that the NBI said a woman who lives in the apartment searched today is the suspect. Police were said to be searching for the woman, with some news accounts saying that she is expected to turn herself in.
In contrast to this news, a Swedish researcher over the weekend said that he has tracked the virus to a German exchange student living in Australia. Fredrik Björck, a researcher at the Computer and Systems Sciences Department run by Stockholm University and the Royal Institute of Technology, said that the virus was launched through an email account at a Philippine ISP (Internet service provider).
However, computer security companies have been saying for several days that the virus writer is in the Philippines. One such company, ICSA.net, thinks the suspect is a student at AMA Computer College in the Philippines.
Lawless Ramos is thought to have been arrested at his home in a housing project in Manila. Because the Philippines has no laws specifically pertaining to the type of act committed by whoever wrote and released the ILOVEYOU virus, Ramos may face charges under Republic Act 8484, the Access Device Act.
That act is aimed at protecting the rights of those who use access devices for commercial transactions.
Meanwhile, Janet Reno, the US Attorney General called a press conference to announce the creation of the Internet Fraud Complaint Centre, a collaborative effort on the part of the US Department of Justice and the US-based White Collar Crime Center. The centre will offer a Web service that will let consumers register complaints about online fraud.
The virus - a type of software script called a "worm" - was released last week and caused havoc globally, shutting down email systems at major corporations and governments. Since then, nearly a dozen variants have appeared.