Feeds

German police arrest Sasser worm suspect

Alleged Phatbot perp also nabbed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
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.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.