Feeds

German police arrest Sasser worm suspect

Alleged Phatbot perp also nabbed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, watchdog claims
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.