Jailed worm author rewarded by job offer

Experts at IT security and control firm Sophos have reacted with bewilderment at news that a jailed virus writer has been offered a job by one of the companies he succeeded in infecting.

According to Chinese media reports, 25-year-old Li Jun, who was sentenced to four years in prison this week for profiting from the worm he created, has been offered a job paying a million yuan (approximately ?66,000) annual salary. The offer to become the technology director of Jushu Technology, a firm based in Hangzhou City, comes despite the firm being itself a victim of the worm.

Li Jun wrote the Fujacks worm (also known as Worm.Whboy) which made headlines earlier this year because it converted icons of infected programs into a picture of a panda burning joss-sticks as it stole usernames and passwords from online games players.

According to Li’s lawyer, approximately ten companies have offered jobs to the cybercriminal who is described as a “precious genius”.

“It’s important that the IT community does not send out a message that writing viruses or worms is cool, or a fast track into employment,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Li Jun broke the law and infected innocent people’s computers and websites, causing financial damage. To reward his criminal act, infamy and bad behaviour with a job offer in the IT industry is frankly perverse.”

Earlier this year, Sophos advised computer users to think carefully about how they remedy virus infections, following news that the Chinese police were planning to release a clean-up program written by Li Jun.

“You would have to be crazy to rely upon a tool written by the worm’s author to clean-up an infection he created in the first place,” continued Cluley. “Virus writers have proven themselves to be untrustworthy and to have a weak sense of morals – otherwise they wouldn’t release their malware in the first place.”

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