Securepoint's hacker hire costs partnership

Securepoint's decision to hire Sven Jaschan has upset a fellow security company, which says it no longer wants to be associated with the firm

A German antivirus company has stopped trading with its firewall manufacturing partner Securepoint because the firewall firm has employed virus writer Sven Jaschan.

H+BEDV Datentechnik confirmed on Monday it had halted cooperation with Securepoint because of the security implications of its move.

"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 and founder 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.

"I was getting cold feet," he added. "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."

Alleged Sasser author Jaschan, who was said to have been responsible for 70 percent of the world's viruses during one period of time, 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 took the decision to break ties with Securepoint two minutes after he heard that Jaschen would be working there.

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

For its part, Securepoint was keen to downplay the impact of H+BEDV's move. Lutz Hausmann, technical director of Securepoint, told ZDNet UK that his company only had limited dealings with H+BEDV.

"I didn't knew the revenue with them and asked our financial department. It was something like €2,000 a year. Not very much," said Hausmann.

ZDNet UK's Graeme Wearden contributed to this report.

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