A 16-year-old boy from Ontario will appear in court next week to face charges of computer fraud and mischief to data for helping distribute the Randex computer worm.
The boy was issued the summons to appear following a police investigation that linked him to a network of Randex-infected computers acting as robots, or "bots.
Randex spreads by breaking into poorly protected computers running Microsoft Windows. The worm first appeared last June and has since spawned dozens of variants.
Randex spreads on local area networks, exploiting Windows machines with weak passwords by trying to guess the password using a preprogrammed list of values, said security company F-Secure.
Once it infects machines, the worm alters the configuration of Windows so that the worm is launched whenever Windows starts. It also installs a backdoor on the infected machine that allows the worm's author or remote attackers to control the machine using commands issued over an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel.
The police investigation followed a tip from law enforcement in a "foreign country" that led to the boy after a complaint in that country about a network of IRC "bots".
Police declined to say which country the tip came from, but said they were unaware of any links between the Randex case and recent announcements from Germany about the arrest of the suspected author of the Sasser worm and Agobot Trojan program.
Wiegers also declined to comment on whether police officers believed the boy was the Randex author or had searched the boy's house or seized any evidence in the case.
Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service