Feeds

Melissa virus author jailed for 20 months

Long time coming

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The author of the infamous Melissa virus was sentenced today to 20 months in Federal prison for causing millions of dollars of damage through its release into the wild in March 1999.

David L Smith, 33, pleaded guilty to creating the virus in December 1999 - the delay in his sentencing has created consternation in the security community.

Free on bail since then, Smith learned his fate today when Judge Joseph A. Greenaway sent him to prison and imposed a $5,000 fine.

Both sides in the case agreed that damage from Melissa, one of the first email borne viruses that exploited flaws in Microsoft's Outlook client exceeded $80 million, largely by jamming up corporate email systems.

Jack Clark, product marketing manager of the McAfee division of Network Associates, described the sentence as "about right" and expressed hopes that it would act as a deterrent to other would-be virus creators.

"This sends a clear message to other virus creators, who over the last few years, thought they might get way with it," said Clark, who hoped other authorities would look at the US ruling.

Smith released the Melissa virus by deliberately posting an infected document to an alt.sex.usenet newsgroup from a stolen AOL account. The virus, believed to be named after a stripper Smith knew in Florida, forwards itself to the first 50 addresses in all of your accessible Outlook address books.

Companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Lockheed Martin, and Lucent Technologies were forced to shut down their email gateways because of the large amount of email generated by the virus. It also caused the closure of e-mail systems of government agencies in both the US and UK. ®

Related Stories

Justice mysteriously delayed for 'Melissa' author
Melissa programmer freed on bail
Melissa virus threatens to bring email to a halt
AV vendors sell 'blunt razor blades'
Malware by numbers: online virus creation tool spotted
MS security memo a mere gesture
Anna Kournikova virus author stands trial
24 year-old Brit charged with virus writing

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.