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Kournikova suspect to stand trial in September

Dutch virus author likely to face light punishment

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The alleged author of the infamous Anna Kournikova worm is to face prosecution, according to reports by a Dutch news service.

OnTheFly will face charges of for spreading information over a computer network with the intention of causing damage in a hearing set for September 12.

WebWereld Netherlands reports that if convicted he faces a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to 100 000 guilders. If sent to a higher court a sentence of up to four year in jail might be imposed, but this seems unlikely.

Dutch law does not allow the full name of a suspect to be released prior to trial and the 20 year-old is referred only as Jan de W (not his full name, which we have, but won't publish in deference to Dutch customs).

Andre Post, a senior antivirus researcher Symantec's Antivirus Research Center (SARC), said that he doubted whether de W. would be convicted of intentionally spreading the worm. Because OnTheFly co-operated with the police he's likely to only be convicted of lesser charges, Post added.

OnTheFly printed a confession-come-apology for spreading the virus prior to turning himself in to police in his hometown of Sneek. He became something of a local celebrity and the town's mayor even offered the suspected Internet vandal a job on the strength of his non-existent computer expertise. Thankfully for Sneek's municipal computer department, nothing came of this misguided offer.

The Anna Kounikova email worm using a Visual Basic Worm Generator, written by [K]Alamar. After it was released onto the Internet in February it spread rapidly and provoked a number firms to shut down their email servers as a precaution. Whilst it caused a great deal of inconvenience and irritation its effects were far less severe than early reports suggested and it caused nothing like the damage caused by the Love Bug.

Post said only three or four people have ever been convicted of writing viruses. He suggested prosecutors would do better to target the creators of virus toolkits rather than s'kiddies who use them but admitted there was little sign of effective action on this. ®

External Links

Dutch report

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