One man created most PC viruses – 70% of infections worldwide this year traced to 18-year-old
Sven Jaschan, self-confessed author of the Netsky and Sasser computer viruses, is responsible for 70 percent of virus infections in 2004, according to a six-month virus round-up published Wednesday by British antivirus company Sophos.
Munir Kotadia, Cnet News.com
The 18-year-old Jaschan was arrested in Germany in May by police who said he had admitted to programming both the Netsky and Sasser worms. Details of the teenager’s virus-writing activities were confirmed by security experts at Microsoft Corp., and authorities said a Microsoft antivirus reward program led to Jaschan’s arrest.
During the five months preceding Jaschan’s arrest, there were at least 25 variants of Netsky and one of the worm Sasser.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said it was staggering that one person could be responsible for so many infections.
Cluley said there is still a chance that others may be implicated in the Netsky virus, although so far no one else has been arrested.
"The full story of the Netsky gang isn’t known yet," Cluley said. "We know some of his fellow students have been questioned, but the real motives are not fully known."
Sophos said the Sasser worm was the most virulent virus in the first six months of the year, accounting for 26.1 percent of infections. The Netsky.p, Netsky.b and Netsky.d viruses placed second, third and fourth places respectively. The only viruses in Sophos’ top-10 list not written by Jaschan are Mydoom.a (fifth place), Zafi.b (sixth place), Sober.c (ninth place) and Bagle.a (10th place).
"Sasser may have taken top spot, but six of the biggest viruses of the last six months were Netsky and Bagle variants," Cluley said. "These caused a continued nuisance for PC users the world over as their authors entered into a very public game of virus writing one-upmanship."
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