Security firm justifies virus writer job

Definitely not just a cheap publicity stunt...

Definitely not just a cheap publicity stunt...

The German security firm that has offered Sasser virus author Sven Jaschan has hit back at critics.

The 18-year-old Jaschan was hired earlier this month by Securepoint as a full-time trainee programmer but many security and antivirus vendors have been highly critical of the move, saying it sets a dangerous precedent in seemingly rewarding criminal acts.

But Lutz Hausmann, technical director at Securepoint, told silicon.com he is satisfied Jaschan regrets his actions and that he 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 on in an ordinary life later on."

Such an argument is unlikely to wash with the rest of the IT security industry, who have accused Securepoint of setting a dangerous precedent with something that is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt.

Jaschan is currently awaiting trial in Germany for his virus-writing antics and faces up to five years in jail. Security companies estimate Jaschan was responsible for 70 per cent of all virus infections in the first half of this year, causing millions of pounds of damage.