Worm traps alleged child porn offender

Computer worm sends out phony police-investigation warning, tricking man accused of child porn crimes into turning himself in.

An alleged child porn offender in Germany turned himself in to the police after mistaking an e-mail he received from a computer worm for an official warning that he was under investigation, authorities said on Tuesday.

"It just goes to show that computer worms aren't always destructive," said a spokesman for police in the western city of Paderborn. "Here it helped us to uncover a crime which would otherwise probably have gone undetected."

The 20-year-old was duped by a version of the "Sober" worm, a prolific Internet virus that can invade computers and then send out messages from a host of fabricated addresses.

The trap was set when the man got an e-mail saying "an investigation is underway" and that listed the sender as Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). Police charged him after finding pornographic images of children on his home computer.

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