Feeds

Melissa virus author jailed for 20 months

Long time coming

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.