The German teenager who spread the Sasser virus, which severely crippled computer systems around the world last year, has walked free from court.
After pleading guilty to data manipulation, computer sabotage and interfering with public corporations, 19-year-old Sven Jaschan received one year and nine month’s probation.
Sasser damaged computers at the UK coastguard, British Airways, and hundreds of other businesses worldwide.
Although many companies affected by the virus may have expected a heavier sentence from the court, the prosecution had only requested a suspended prison sentence with community service.
His age when he committed the crimes and the fact that he immediately pleaded guilty was taken into account by the court.
“Sven Jaschan avoided a jail sentence by the skin of his teeth because he was arrested within days of his 18th birthday,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security software firm Sophos.
“In many ways, he was lucky that the police caught him when they did. Nevertheless, his name will always be associated with some of the biggest viruses in the history of the internet,” said Cluley.
The teenager was also responsible for spreading the slightly less damaging e-mail Netsky worm. Variants of both Netsky and Sasser are still being circulated by other virus writers.