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Microsoft Bounty Helps Land Worm Writer

Microsoft's $5 million reward fund that puts bounties on the heads of hackers scored its first success this weekend by leading to the arrest of an 18-year-old in Germany accused of creating the Sasser and Netsky worms, the Redmond, Wash.-based developer said Saturday.

According to Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft, information was provided to the firm's German investigators by informants last Wednesday. After technical analysis on the part of Microsoft and the FBI to confirm the accuracy of the claim, Microsoft contacted local officials, who on Friday arrested an unnamed teen in Waffensen, a town in the northwest section of Germany, about 20 miles east of Bremen.

"Within 48 hours, our investigators and the German police were able to identify the perpetrator of the Sasser virus and take him into custody," said Smith during a news conference Saturday. "This individual is responsible, we believe, for all four variants of the Sasser worm."

Security experts were quick to applaud the arrest.

"This arrest will hopefully curb the never-ending worm war of 2004," said Ken Dunham, the director of malicious code research at iDefense.

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