Earlier this month, SecurePoint Technologies hired 18-year-old Sven Jaschan as a full-time trainee programmer. Many security and antivirus companies have been highly critical of the move, saying it sets a dangerous precedent by rewarding criminal acts.
But Lutz Hausmann, technical director at SecurePoint, told Silicon.com that he is satisfied Jaschan regrets his actions and that Hausmann would rather have him working for the good guys.
"Under consideration of the underlying relations, it was right to give him a job. The kid was just an immature boy with mindless intent, nothing more," he said. "Certainly, he will get a strong sentence. He will never do such thing again."
Hausmann suggested Jaschan's training at SecurePoint will help rehabilitate him and prevent him from slipping into the criminal underworld.
Jaschan is "only an apprentice and will get an excellent vocational training. He got the job because he had been the best amongst other people in an application procedure. He is a common teenager who wants--after his sentence--to live…an ordinary life later on."
Such an argument is unlikely to wash with the rest of the IT security industry, which has accused SecurePoint of setting a bad precedent with something that is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt.
Jaschan is awaiting trial in Germany for his virus-writing antics and faces up to five years in jail. Security companies estimate that Jaschan was responsible for 70 percent of all virus infections in the first half of this year, causing millions of dollars of damage.
Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.