Sasser virus writer admits guilt in trial

German teenager stood trial yesterday, a year after being arrested and admitting to writing the damaging worm which caused havoc in early 2004.

Sven Jaschan, the German teenager accused of writing the Sasser virus, is standing trial today, a year after he was arrested and admitted to writing the damaging worm which caused havoc for many businesses and individuals in early 2004.

It is being reported that Jaschan is now once again pleading guilty to all the charges as they are presented to the court.

Because Jaschan was 17-years-old when arrested he will be tried as a minor behind closed doors at a courtroom in Verden, Germany.

Dave Rand, chief technologist of internet content security at Trend Micro, told silicon.com it's "wonderful to see legal process is working" and expressed hope the case against Jaschan is the first of many against other cyber criminals.

However, he said one of the biggest stumbling blocks to such cases is quantifying the damage done in a way that a court can understand and appreciate.

"There have been huge estimates as to the costs related to Sasser but the real damage was in the clean up. It took out email and it took out infrastructure but the actual damage is impossible to quantify - but it was huge," said Rand.

However, Rand added that those who have their hearts set on more arrests and subsequent prosecutions shouldn't lose sight of the fact the circumstances leading up to Jaschan's arrest were more of a tribute to the power of money--in the shape of Microsoft's virus bounty--than effective law enforcement and investigation.

Rand also had strong criticism for Jaschan's current employer, German security company Securepoint, who offered the teenager a job in the wake of his arrest.

"I think that's a dreadful idea," he said. "If somebody has a background in malicious code how can he ever be trusted to protect other people's computers?"

Silicon.com's Will Sturgeon reported from London.