Feeds

German police arrest Sasser worm suspect

Alleged Phatbot perp also nabbed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Updated An 18-year-old German student has admitted writing the infamous Sasser worm, following his arrest by local police on Friday.

The man (since named as Sven Jaschan) from the village of Waffensen, between Bremen and Hamburg, in the northern German state of Lower Saxony is also suspected of releasing all 28 versions of the equally notorious NetSky worm. The investigation which led to his arrest came from a tip-off to Microsoft from unspecified individuals who stand to collect a payout of up to $250,000 under the company's $5m anti-virus reward program. German papers report that Jaschan's own classmates turned him in but this remains unconfirmed.

Technical experts from Microsoft were able to verify the information received and German police, helped by investigative support from the FBI, launched an operation which led to a raid on the Jaschan's home - less than a week after Sasser began infecting hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. Investigators seized computers and disks from his home, which he shares with his parents. His mother, Veronika, and stepfather run a small PC Help business prompting speculation their son may have written the worm in a misguided attempt to drum up business. Jaschan Junior has been released on bail after questioning by police and pending further investigations.

Confession

Frank Federau, a spokesman for German police in Lower Saxony, told Reuters: "We are absolutely certain that this really is the creator of the Internet worm because Microsoft experts were involved in the inquiry and confirmed our suspicions and because the suspect admitted to it".

Police reckon the accused created all four variants of Sasser. The alleged perp faces charges punishable by up to five years in prison if convicted in an adult court. Since he only turned 18 on April 29 he may end up getting tried in a juvenile court, where a much lighter sentence might apply.

Jaschan reportedly told police his ultimate goal with NetSky was to develop an anti-virus 'virus', which could automatically remove MyDoom and Bagle. He was encouraged by his class mates - who knew he was working on these programs - to develop the even more aggressive Sasser worm, according to German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Sasser targets a recently announced vulnerability in Windows causing vulnerable machines to shutdown and reboot. The worm has caused widespread disruption affecting the operations of companies ranging from Finnish bank Sampo and Germany's Deutsche Post to the UK Coastguard. Advice on how to deal with infected or vulnerable machines can be found here.

Phatbot arrest

In a parallel move, police in the southern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg have arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of creating the Agobot and Phatbot Trojans.

Investigators are refusing to speculate about links between the two virus writers or alleged connections to larger VX (virus-writing) groups, pointing out that both investigations are at an early stage. ®

Related stories

Sasser creates European pandemonium
We've seen worse than Sasser - MS
MS puts $250k bounty on virus authors' heads
Feds sexed up case Blaster suspect
FBI arrests Blaster suspect
Phatbot primed to steal your credit card details
Netsky tops virus charts by a country mile
War of the worms turns into war of words

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.