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Archive for Sunday, May 9, 2004

Teenager admits creating Internet worm

May 9, 2004

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— A German high-school student has confessed to creating the "Sasser" worm that generated chaos across the globe by infecting hundreds of thousands of computers, authorities said Saturday.

The teenager, whose name was not released, was arrested Friday in the northern village of Waffensen, where he lives with his family. In a search of the suspect's home, German investigators confiscated his customized computer, which contained the worm's source code.

"As a result of the student's detailed testimony about the viruses he spread, he has been identified clearly as the author," the state criminal office in Hanover said in a statement. Spokesman Detlef Ehrike said he was being investigated on suspicion of computer sabotage, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

After being questioned, the teenager was released pending charges.

The worm raced around the world over the past week, exploiting a flaw in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Microsoft said informants contacted it on Wednesday, offering information about the worm's creator. The company's investigators worked with German authorities, the FBI and Secret Service agents, tracing the virus by analyzing its source code, said Brad Smith, Microsoft's top lawyer.

The company would not say how many people came forward or identify them. But in Germany, Microsoft data protection official Sascha Hanke said the informants had backed up their tip by providing part of the worm's source code.

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