Windows Sasser worm creator confesses, arrested in Germany

“German police have arrested an 18-year-old man suspected of creating the Sasser computer worm, believed to be one of the Internet’s costliest outbreaks of sabotage. Spokesman Frank Federau for the Lower Saxony police said the man was arrested Friday. Federau said the suspect admitted to programing the worm, but authorities did not know if he had created all the versions of it,” Reuters reports.

“‘He made a confession, and the experts at Microsoft have now confirmed that he was the cause of this worm,’ said Federau. He said he did not have any details of how the suspect was found. Surprised at the rapid developments, security experts said this could be the single biggest arrest yet in bringing down a virus-writing gang,” Reuters reports. “Federau said that the man, who lived with his parents near the central German town of Rotenburg, did not have any links with organized crime. But the spokesman could not confirm if the suspect had ties to other worm programers.”

“All the teenager’s computers were confiscated by police but the suspect himself was not in custody, Federau said,” Reuters reports. “Since appearing a week ago, Sasser has wreaked havoc on personal computers running on the ubiquitous Microsoft Windows 2000, NT and XP operating systems, but is expected to slow down as computer users download antivirus patches. The computing underground responsible for hatching worms and viruses has proved a difficult ring to crack for law enforcement. ‘Hopefully this arrest will limit their activities,’ said Mikko Hypponen, antivirus research director at Finnish data security firm F-Secure. ‘If we can start catching these guys, it will certainly put more pressure on existing virus writers.'”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Gartner: Worms jack up the total cost of Microsoft Windows – May 07, 2004
Windows Sasser worm mutates, knocks out banks, EC; Macintosh unaffected – May 04, 2004
Windows Sasser worm severely disrupts UK coastguard; Mac users remain unaffected – May 04, 2004
Windows Sasser net worm spreading rapidly; Macintosh unaffected – May 03, 2004

42 Comments

  1. “Federau said that the man” : he is a teenager. Get one 1000 others are ready to write the next Sasser. When this will be clear in the mind of everyone.

    It takes a school boy to smash and bring down Windows.

  2. Lol. Experts. Lol.

    I didn’t know there was a ring of virus writing criminals. I just thought it was bored kids who were fed up with Windows. And it’s not like it takes a super-genius to write them, Microsoft making it so easy and all. I wonder if this evil ring of virus writing criminals all wear masks and watch the Matrix over and over again.

  3. Says a lot about Microsoft experts when an 18 year old schoolboy can bring down a bank, coastguard, airline… need I continue?

    When are people gonna wake up to the fact Windows is Swiss Cheese?

    This 18 year old (I love putting that) who created havoc should be rewarded for showing that Windows is a piece of shit and any organisation that places their trust in an OS that has more holes than a packet of polo mints should be fined and ordered to switch. Not to Mac necessarily, but to an OS that isn’t run by idiots who couldn’t give a damn about security, just about making money.

    To all the people running Windows on critical systems, this is your wake up call. An 18 YEAR OLD BOY CAN BRING DOWN YOUR COMPANY.

  4. Embarrassing, isn’t it? An 18-jear-old can wreak havoc worldwide. This is the perfect illustration of how “secure” Windows is.

    Another info on this: they got him because somebody ratted on him for the MS reward money. A MS spokesperson said that the boy is not a genius programmer. Well, it doesn’t take a genius to rattle Windows!

  5. In the good old days, virus writers used to get high paid jobs at Symantec after being caught. Then it turns out any idiot can do it. This guys just going to gaol.

  6. I hope this kid says something like
    ‘I tried writing a virus for Mac OSX but it proved too tough. However, it was easy to bring down millions of the world’s computers.’

  7. “The teenager was arrested on Friday in the town of Rotenburg in northern Germany, and has now been released.

    Investigators seized a number of computers and disks from his home. It is understood he was working alone. […] The BBC’s Tristana Moore in Berlin says police are acting on the theory that the student was acting alone, not as part of a wider network. […] The police may just have cracked the Netsky gang with this arrest. The whole ring may be broken wide open,” said Graham Cluley, of British-based security firm Sophos.”

    LOL, how can everyone be so blind! It is a lonely bored teenager with average computer skills. Any one of them can bring entire companies to their knees, companies idiot enough to still using Windows.

    Sheesh so moronic. Wake up idiots and ditch the crap already!

  8. If Brinks made a line of bank safes which 90% of all banks use, that an 18 year old can break into, would the US government be trying to find a ring of bank thieves/vandals or would they force Brinks to recall/replace the safes with a more secure one and/or compensate the banks for their losses?

    Why isn’t Microsoft being held responsible?

    If an 18 year old breaks into my house, it is MY FAULT for not having better security. You don’t just arrest the kid and not do something about it.

  9. Ary,

    it is the EULA. MS explicitly said its software should not be used in mission critical environment, hence they can easily demonstrate that anyone who is using Windows but in a casual environment – where no loss, financial or else could arise from using their OS – is on their own. They simply would say: “We told you”. They can easily prove that a bank system is mission critical, Coastguards systems are mission critical, ATMs are mission critical, DMV, Post Offices, etc. All these systems should NOT be using Windows by Microsoft own admission.

    Who is the idiot then?

  10. Microsoft will be held responsible by many – but not all. M$ may never face actual punishment from governments, but they will face an even worse punishment: people switching. I cannot tell you how many people I encountered the past week who are sick and tired of updates that update the update that was supposed to fix last months update that didn’t work…etc. They want something different.

  11. Sorry, but writing a worm is no where near “average” computer skills. You need a great knowledge of programming and of windows. The fact that he is only 18 does not change the fact that he MUST be a very intelligent and talented programmer.

  12. M$ should be fined for being responsible — take half their cash and return it to those who suffer losses due to viruses. The challenge: M$ should buy an Apple for those who suffer loss of data due to a virus on Wintel and Apple should buy an HP for those who suffer same on a Mac. And both should buy me something because my birthday was some months ago.

  13. itnaanti: you know that the source code can be found on the net, right? And that there are virus ready-kit which can be downloaded.

    Even the source code for Phatbot virus is available. LOL, you must be a Windows user, right? Not to be harsh but if you really knew you would change platform today.

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