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Security from A to Z: Jaschan (Sven)

The German teenager was responsible for the Sasser virus, which has caused a lot of headaches for companies. Part of a rundown of hot security topics.

German teenager Sven Jaschan was responsible for writing and unleashing the Sasser virus back in 2004.

Sasser blew the simmering lid off malicious software, wreaking high-profile havoc in businesses and organizations across the world. Disruption caused by the worm included the shutting down of 130 offices of insurance company IF; the cancellation of several Delta Air Lines transatlantic flights; and the satellite communication of the AFP news agency being blocked for hours.

Jaschan was arrested after a three-month international investigation that saw Microsoft slapping a $250,000 bounty on the Sasser writer's head, and he was the first person caught as a direct result of Microsoft's bounty hunt.

The teenager was tried in Germany in July 2005 and pleaded guilty to charges including computer sabotage and disruption of business. There was speculation he would serve time behind bars. In fact, he was handed a suspended sentence--a punishment that caused widespread criticism in the security community.

Jaschan managed to generate further headlines by netting a programming job with computer security company SecurePoint, a move that also caused much head-shaking and soul-searching among security professionals.

Natasha Lomas reported for in London.