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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Teen charged over Sasser virus
BA jet flying over homes near Heathrow, BBC
Sasser disrupted BA check-in desks
The alleged creator of the virulent Sasser virus has been formally charged.

German prosecutors have laid charges of computer sabotage, data manipulation and disruption of public systems against student Sven Jaschan who has admitted writing the Windows worm.

In total 143 victims of Sasser have contacted prosecutors to report the damage they suffered as the malicious program rampaged through computers.

If found guilty, Mr Jaschan could face up to five years in jail.

Copycat success

No date has been set for Mr Jaschan's trial.

He was arrested in May following a tip-off passed to Microsoft which put up a cash reward of $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of whoever was behind the virulent worm.

The reward money will only be paid if Mr Jaschan is convicted.

The computer worms caused damage worldwide. There is no doubt about that
Helmut Trentmann, chief prosecutor
Police said that Mr Jaschan admitted to writing the virus at his family home in Waffensen, a town in Lower Saxony.

Sasser struck in early May this year and is thought to have infected millions of computers.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs, the European Commission, British Airways and the 19 regional offices of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency were caught out by Sasser.

The worm exploited holes in Microsoft Windows and made infected machines shut down.

Once arrested Mr Jaschan reportedly confessed to creating Sasser and is also thought to be responsible for the Netsky virus.

If so, then anti-virus firm Sophos estimates, that Mr Jaschan was responsible for 70% of the virus activity during the first six months of 2004.

Many copycat virus writers produced novel versions of Sasser and Netsky and released them on to the net. There are now more than 25 versions of Netsky in circulation.

The damage claims of the 143 victims of the Sasser virus totals US$157,000 (88,000).

However, many of the more high-profile victims have not come forward to make claims and experts believe the true cost of Sasser could stretch into millions.

"The computer worms caused damage worldwide. There is no doubt about that," said chief prosecutor Helmut Trentmann.




SEE ALSO:
Potter-mania fuels pesky virus
03 Jun 04  |  Technology
Viruses get caught in the herd
14 May 04  |  Technology
Internet browser breach defused
28 Jun 04  |  Technology
Funds sought to aid virus writer
18 May 04  |  Technology
Web worm tests network security
10 May 04  |  Technology
Teen 'confesses' to Sasser worm
08 May 04  |  Europe


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