Magazine article Risk Management

Codewarriors 1, Scriptkiddies 0

Magazine article Risk Management

Codewarriors 1, Scriptkiddies 0

Article excerpt

In January, RM covered the launch of Microsoft's new "hacker bounty" program, which established a $5 million fund to award payments of up to $250,000 to individuals who turned in the distributors of malicious code such as viruses, worms and Trojan horses. Less than six months after the program began, it has netted its first culprit: the author of the infamous Sasser virus, 18-year old German vocational graduate Sven Jaschan.

Sasser hit the Internet on April 30, exploiting security holes in Windows 2000, NT and XP. The virus infected tens of millions of PCs, and claimed numerous high-profile casualties, such as Delta Airlines, the British coast guard, one third of Taiwan's post offices, Goldman Sachs and Australia's WestPac bank. By the time Jaschan was arrested--authorities were tipped off to Jaschan's identity and whereabouts by associates looking to collect Microsoft's bounty--Sasser had cost businesses over $500 million in lost productivity and extra IT resources.

Even after Jaschan's arrest, new variations of Sasser proliferate, partly because the virus' code easily lends itself to imitation by "scriptkiddies"--young hackers whose desire for notoriety generally outstrips their programming skills--eager to become the next bane of the Internet by duplicating Jaschan's work. …

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