Sasser author given 21 months' probation

The German teen, a minor at the time of his crime, gets a suspended prison sentence for releasing the worm in April 2004.

Sven Jaschan released his Sasser worm on April 29, 2004, to commemorate his 18th birthday. Because he was a minor when he created the worm that infected networks worldwide, a German judge Thursday granted leniency in sentencing the teenager to 21 months of probation and 30 hours of community service.

Jaschan, now 19, also had to repay a portion of the $154,000 in damages suffered by three German city governments and a public television station named as victims in the case tried this week in Verden, Germany.

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The former vocational high school student admitted in court this week that he was behind the Sasser worm, which swept through government and corporate networks that had yet to install a Microsoft security patch issued less than three weeks earlier. They included British Airways, Goldman Sachs and Hong Kong hospitals. Sasser also drew widespread attention because of the speed with which it works, spreading by scanning random IP addresses for vulnerable machines, rather than e-mail.

In addition, Jaschan has publicly confessed to creating Netsky, a worm said to be responsible for a quarter of all virus reports issued the first half of this year. Jaschan, who told a German magazine he created viruses to gain attention, maintained he created Netsky to wipe out two other wildly propagating worms, Bagle and Mydoom.

Experts at Massachusetts-based antivirus and network security provider Sophos expressed disappointment with the sentencing. "It's more likely that you will be hit by a worm written by Sven Jaschan than any other virus author," said senior security analyst Gregg Mastoras in a prepared statement. "He will always be associated with some of the biggest viruses in the history of the Internet."

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