A Chinese virus writer sent to jail for four years earlier this week has been offered a well-paying job by one of his victims.
Li Jun, 25, played a central role in a malware-fueled scam that led to the infection of hundreds of thousands of Windows PCs across the country.
The Fujacks worm he created converted icons of infected programs into a picture of a panda burning joss sticks, while surreptitiously stealing the user names and passwords of online games players. The worm infected an estimated one million Windows PCs in China, the worst ever outbreak.
According to Chinese media reports, Li has been offered a job paying a million yuan ($133,000) a year as technology director with Jushu Technology, a Hangzhou City-based firm that was one of the victims of the worm.
Li's lawyers said Jushu is one of 10 firms who've offered jobs to the "precious genius".
Security watchers reacted with bewilderment to the news that a jailed virus writer has been offered a job by one of the organisations he succeeded in infecting. "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 behavior with a job offer in the IT industry is frankly perverse.
"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," he adds.
Li is not the first virus writer to gain a job offer off the back of the infamy that comes from writing high-profile malware. Jan de Wit, author of the Anna Kournikova worm, should be offered work in his local council's IT department, the mayor of the town of Sneek suggested. Sven Jaschan, author of the prolific Netsky and Sasser worms, was hired by a German IT security firm. ®