September 20, 2004 11:27 AM PDT
Security firm looks to hire alleged Sasser author
Sven Jaschan, an 18-year-old German, who is also thought to be behind the Netsky virus and is currently awaiting trial on virus-writing charges, could be about to enter gainful employment with German firewall company Securepoint.
Securepoint says it would teach the ex-malware maker to be a security programmer. The security vendor says it would like to hire the reformed "script kiddy" because he has knowledge in the field and deserves a chance to prove himself.
However, Jaschan's software training may need to be put on hold for some months--even years. The teen is currently facing charges including data manipulation and computer sabotage, which could see him in jail for up to five years.
Jaschan is thought to be responsible for 70 percent of all virus infections in the first half of the year, and estimates of the damage caused range up to several million dollars.
Some security professionals have expressed unease about Jaschan's potential new job, although they said they'd be happy to see him rehabilitated and contributing to IT. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus company Sophos, said Securepoint would have "an interesting challenge ahead (in) reassuring the media and its customers that it has not set a precedent by 'rewarding' those who, only months before, may have been launching attacks against innocent computer systems."
Cluley also said he would prefer Jaschan to join the ranks of IT as a games writer or Web designer, not a security professional.
One software writer said he would "be worried for the sake of the company" if a virus writer were to join his team. Working on games might help keep ex-virus writers on the straight and narrow, but "unless he was working on antivirus stuff, (his knowledge) wouldn't be that useful," he said.
While Jaschan may have decided to forget about the virus-writing world, it clearly hasn't forgotten about him.
The latest version of MyDoom contains a picture of Jaschan. Mikko Hypponen, director of antivirus research for F-Secure, said the virus-writing community could be trying to mock the teen.
"The photo could be making the point that MyDoom has won the virus war, but then again, Netsky was much more widespread than MyDoom," he said.
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