Microsoft Paid $250,000 Bounty in the Capture of Sasser Worm Author

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    Microsoft Corp. paid a $250,000 bounty to help track down the teenaged programmer that authored the Sasser worm.

    Microsoft made the payment to two unnamed informants that helped track down the author of the Sasser worm - a worm which cost global businesses millions of dollars and infected computers worldwide. Sven Jaschan, 19, was found guilty last week by a German court for creating the worm and was given a suspended sentence of 21 months after he admitted to writing the virus.

    On May 1, 2004, the Sasser worm struck as many as 18 million computers worldwide within a week, causing some businesses to shut down to debug their systems. Jaschan was arrested the following week and admitted to releasing the malicious software.

    Jaschan gave a full confession during his first day in court admitting to charges of data manipulation and disruption of public administration and computer sabotage. The 19-year-old was charged as a minor. An adult facing the same charges would have been subject to a prison sentence of up to five years.

    "He took malicious pleasure in making computers around the world crash," a court spokesman said.

    Unlike a virus, a worm doesn't need to travel via e-mails and infected files. The Sasser worm made its way around the Internet infecting computers that were linked to the Internet and unprotected. The worm exploited flaws in Windows 2000, Windows Server 2004 and Windows XP. Sasser caused infected computers to enter a cycle of shutting down and rebooting.

    The software giant rewarded two informers that will share the $250,000 bounty for helping authorities find Jaschan. Microsoft stated that the payment would come from their anti-virus program - a program established with the FBI, Secret Service and Interpol in November 2003 to provide rewards to help deter cyber-criminals.

    Jaschan currently works for a German security software firm named Securepoint, which protects systems against worms and viruses. In a recent survey released from security firm Sophos, over three quarters of business PC users believe that the Jaschan's suspended sentence was too lenient.

    "With almost 80 per cent of those surveyed saying Jaschan's sentence was too lenient, it seems that many computer users are not convinced that justice has been served," Sophos security consultant Carole Theriault said in a statement.

    "Perhaps even more interesting about the Jaschan sentencing is Microsoft splashing out $250,000 to the two unidentified people who helped track Jaschan down, especially when speculation hints that these people are teenagers who may have had some involvement with Jaschan."

    Source: GeekInformed

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