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14 Feb 2001

Sophos welcomes arrest in Kournikova worm case


Sophos, a world leader in corporate anti-virus protection, has welcomed the arrest of a man in the Netherlands in connection with the VBS/SST-A computer worm.

Dutch police spokesman Robert Rambonnet confirmed that the police force in the Netherlands has arrested a 20 year old in connection with the recent "Anna Kournikova" worm outbreak on suspicion of damaging computer programs and property.

The man, who lives in Friesland, turned himself into the authorities after apparently posting a bizarre apology for his actions on the internet. His identity has not been revealed, but the author of the computer worm and self-confessed fan of Anna Kournikova uses the pseudonym "OnTheFly".

The man, whose computer has been confiscated by the authorities, is expected to be charged with damaging computer programs and property, and could receive a maximum of four years in prison. A district court is expected to hear his case in the next few weeks.

"A feeble excuse on the internet for why he did it won't help the thousands of users who were infected by this worm," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Once you have released a virus you can't take it back, it will always be out there. Even worse is the very real possibility that someone with even fewer scruples will create a more damaging variant."

The VBS/SST-A worm spread around the world earlier this week, pretending to be a graphic of popular Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can control network access and defend against the threats of spam, hackers, spyware and viruses.

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