The teenager responsible for the Sasser worm has been given a 21-month suspended sentence by a German juvenile court.

But the judgement has angered the anti-virus industry, with one expert claiming the sentence is too lenient and will send out the wrong signal.

Sven Jaschan, 19, pleaded guilty to computer sabotage but there is concern that he will still be employed by German security company, Securepoint, despite his conviction. He was offered a job by the company shortly after he was charged last September.

Jaschan was spared a jail term as he was still a juvenile when he released the worm. If he’d been charged as an adult, he would have found himself facing a maximum sentence of five years. He was also sentenced to 30 hours of community service.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for security company Sophos, wasn't happy with the outcome: "Any virus writer will look at this and think that maybe 30 hours of gardening isn’t too bad and is well worth the risk."

Cluley admitted that it would have been hard for Jaschan to have been given a jail sentence under German law but asked why couldn’t he have been tried elsewhere. "He caused damage all around the world not just in Germany," he said. Cluley suggested that a more appropriate sentence would have been banning Jaschan from using computers for a number of years. "It’s interesting to see what he could have done at Securepoint then, maybe make the coffee."

Cluley also pointed out that anti-virus companies were still clearing up Jaschan’s handiwork. "Twenty five percent of all viruses found in the first six months of this year emanated from Jaschan," he added.

Jaschan was arrested in May last year, after an anonymous tip-off, motivated by a reward from Microsoft of $250,000.