Five more in Sasser virus probe
13 May 2004
BREMEN – Five more persons are under investigation in Germany on suspicion of releasing the predecessor to the Sasser computer virus onto the Internet, public prosecutor Helmut Trentmann said Thursday.
Trentmann has headed an inquiry that began a week ago with the arrest of Sven Jaschan, 18, who confessed Friday night to devising Sasser and said it was based on a virus he devised called Netsky, which preceded Sasser’s worldwide spread late last month.
The prosectors said the five under suspicion were all friends of Jaschan.
“There are indications that the whole group came from the one school,” said Trentmann in Verden, close to the northern city of Bremen. Jaschan attended a 2,350-student trade-training college, a stage beyond secondary school, in the nearby town of Rotenburg.
Earlier Trentmann said a computer-sabotage trial before a juvenile court could begin in a matter of weeks thanks to Jaschan’s confession. After the arrest, Trentmann said Jaschan asserted he had tried to write a “good” virus that repaired damage by “bad” viruses.
On internet discussion groups, other German virus enthusiasts have been scathing about Sasser, saying it was poorly designed and appeared to have been assembled from virus-writing “kits” that are readily available on the internet, rather than written from scratch.
Security experts say Sasser appeared to have no insidious intention, but its spread overloaded the internet and caused huge numbers of infected personal computers worldwide to cease normal functions.
Microsoft released a patch last month to protect computers, shortly before Sasser was released and began infecting Windows XP and Windows 2000 systems. The virus, or countermeasures, hit a German bank, a US airline, a coastguard and the European Commission.
Jaschan, who was arrested Friday, at his home in the village of Waffensen, and later bailed has not spoken to the media. Neighbours and schoolmates were still puzzling Thursday about who turned Jaschan in. Microsoft says it will pay the informant USD 250,000 (EUR211,000).
Subject: German news