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17 Jun 2004

Interview with a virus writer. Sasser worm suspect speaks to Stern magazine, Sophos reports

Stern magazine
The latest edition of Stern magazine contains an interview with the suspected author of the Sasser and Netsky worms

An interview with the suspected author of the Sasser worm has been published in Germany by Stern magazine.

The interview confirms what Sophos experts said a month ago, that it was a friend of teenager Sven Jaschan who tipped off Microsoft in an attempt to claim a reward. That friend is now also under suspicion for their involvement with virus writing and distribution, and Microsoft has indicated that they will not receive a reward.

The article, published today, portrays an image of Jaschan as a loner with few friends, sitting in front of his computer screen all night. In the interview Jaschan claims that he used a piece of code he found on the internet inside Sasser that "malfunctioned" and caused PCs to reboot. He claims this was not his intention, and that he was "thoughtless" and had not considered the consequences or the damage that his worm would cause.

"Jaschan claims that he 'only wanted' his creation to be mentioned in every newspaper around the world. Well, he certainly appears to have achieved that objective - he is now a poster-boy for virus writers around the world," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Considering his age at the time of the offences it will be interesting to see what punishment he receives for the crimes he has admitted. It's quite possible he will escape a stiff sentence despite the havoc his worms caused worldwide."

In the interview Jaschan says his intention was to remove infections of the MyDoom and Bagle worms from infected computers with the many variants of the Netsky worm he claims to have authored.

However, Sophos notes that some of the Netsky worms launched denial-of-service attacks against German and Swiss websites, in an attempt to knock them off the internet. The Netsky-Z worm, for instance, instigated attacks against an educational website based close to Jaschan's home.

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.