November 15, 2004 11:25 AM PST

Hacker hire costs SecurePoint an ally

A German antivirus-software company has broken off its partnership with firewall firm SecurePoint because of SecurePoint's decision to hire Sven Jaschan, the alleged creator of the Sasser virus.

H+BEDV Datentechnik confirmed on Monday that it has halted cooperation with SecurePoint because of the security implications of the hire.

"Whatever SecurePoint does is its own decision, but I do not wish to see any stage of our product development closely linked to an alleged virus author," said Tjark Auerbach, chief executive of H+BEDV. "We take a dim view of employing virus authors. The attempt to offer a second chance to an allegedly reformed virus author must be balanced against the exclusive security interests of our customers."

Auerbach said his company had hoped to put its antivirus software in SecurePoint's firewall, but "I was getting cold feet. If a former virus writer is working on the program where a component is ours, what would the customer think? If this engine misses a virus and a former virus writer is working for that company, that smells a little bit stinky."

Jaschan, who at one point was said to have been responsible for 70 percent of the world's viruses, was hired by SecurePoint earlier this year. The company's offer came shortly after Jaschan was released on bail after he admitted writing the virus. Jaschan has not yet been sentenced.

Auerbach said he made the decision to break ties with SecurePoint two minutes after he heard that Jaschen would be working there.

"I cannot support the decision," Auerbach said. "It casts a shadow of doubt over the IT security industry, which has the top priority of the minimization of security risks. This, and not least the security interest of our customers, motivates us in halting cooperation with SecurePoint."

SecurePoint had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

Dan Ilett of ZDNet UK reported from London.

 

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