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13 May 2004

Police breaking open Skynet virus gang in North Germany, Sophos reports

Sven Jaschan
Police have questioned five people and raided houses close to the village where Sven Jaschan, who was arrested last week, lives

Is more than one person responsible for the Netsky and Sasser worms?

Police in Germany have questioned an additional five people in connection with the creation and public unleashing of the Sasser and Netsky worms.

Last weekend 18-year-old Sven Jaschan was arrested in Waffensen, North Germany, in connection with writing and distributing the infamous Sasser internet worm. He later admitted to police that he was the author of Sasser and the Netsky-A worm.

Variants of the Netsky worm have been attacking business networks and individual users since mid-February.

According to press reports, German police executed additional searches on Tuesday and questioned five people. Two admitted to investigators that Jaschan had given them the source code for Netsky and one admitted to helping circulate the Netsky worm. No further arrests have been made.

"Together the Sasser and Netsky worms have delivered a devastating double whammy to corporate networks and internet users," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "The original arrest should help the authorities to quickly unravel this underground worm-writing network, dubbed the 'Skynet gang', and will hopefully lead to further arrests."

In April 2004 several Netsky strains continued to cause serious difficulties for unprotected computer users, accounting for the top five positions in Sophos's monthly roundup of the worst computer viruses.

"North German police are rapidly breaking open the ring of vandal coders responsible for delivering the most significant virus attacks in 2004," continued Cluley. "This should send a clear message to virus writers that authorities worldwide are increasingly taking action against them and are willing to punish them for their actions."

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.