April 29, 2004
The Sasser worm is released into the wild, infecting over 1 million Windows XP and Windows 2000 computers worldwide. Although the worm did not have an intentionally destructive payload, it caused many computers to slow down or crash and reboot repeatedly along with clogging up network traffic. Among the effects of the worm, the British coast guard had to resort to paper maps for the day, a French news agency lost satellite communication for hours, Delta Airlines had to delay or cancel many flights, and the University of Missouri had to disconnect its network from the Internet. Looks like 1 million PC users stepped in a big pile of sassy!
Ironically it has been speculated that the author of Sasser, a German computer science student Sven Jaschan, reverse engineered Microsoft’s patch for the LSASS vulnerability that was released earlier in the month in order to create the worm. Knowing that most computers would not have been patched and that it would spread quickly, he released the worm on this day, his 18th birthday. Lucky for him the German government determined that he had actually written the worm while he was 17, so while he was found guilty of computer sabotage, he was tried as a minor and given a 21 month suspended sentence. He now works as a security expert and consultant. Now that’s Sassy!