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Sasser author admits guilt

German court expected to go easy on teen perp

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Updated The German teenager accused of creating the infamous Sasser worm is due to stand trial for computer sabotage offences later today (Tuesday, 5 July).

Sven Jaschan, 19, was arrested in the village of Waffensen near Rotenburg, in northern Germany, on suspicion of writing and distributing the Sasser worm in May 2004. He later confessed to police that he was both the author of Sasser and the original creator of the NetSky worm. Jaschan's trial will take place behind closed doors in the juvenile court of the German town of Verden and is expected to take around three days. The teenager is being tried in a juvenile court because he was 17 at the time the worm was created, a mitigating factor that'll help Jaschan escape severe punishment if convicted.

Sasser is a network aware worm that exploited a well-known Microsoft vulnerability (in Windows Local Security Authority Subsystem Service - MS04-011) to infect thousands of systems in May 2004. AP reports that German prosecutors have picked three German city governments and a broadcaster whose systems were disrupted by Sasser as specimen victims in the prosecution against Jaschan. These organisations were selected from the 143 plaintiffs with estimated damages of $157,000 who have contacted the authorities. All indications are that this is the tip of a very large iceberg.

Jaschan was arrested after a tip-off to Microsoft from individuals (Jaschan's erstwhile friends) hoping to cash in through Microsoft's Anti-Virus Reward Program. Investigators questioned Jaschan's mates on suspicion of assisting his virus writing activities but none have been charged. ®

Update

As expected, Jaschan admitted writing the Sasser worm during the first day of his trial on computer sabotage offences. Katharina Kruetzfeldt, a spokeswoman for the tribunal, said that 19-year-old Jaschan confessed during the closed-doors hearing. The court is taking evidence about the impact of the Jaschan's malware. A light sentence against Jaschan's is likely because of his early admission of guilt and relative youth.

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