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Lawyers demand hard time for Blaster teen

37 months in federal jail

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Federal prosecutors are calling for the author of a variant of the infamous Blaster worm to be jailed for 37 months - ahead of a sentencing hearing due later this week. Jeffrey Lee Parson pleaded guilty last August to releasing a modified version of the Blaster worm.

Under a plea agreement signed last year, Parson will be imprisoned in a federal jail for between for between 18 and 37 months. Parson risked a possible sentence of up to ten years for "intentionally causing damage to a protected computer" if the case had gone to trial and he had been convicted.

The Seattle Times reports that Parson's lawyers are trying to make sure their client avoids spending his entire sentence in federal prison. They propose six months of "hard time" followed by six months at a community treatment centre and six months of detention followed by three years' probation instead. Prosecutors oppose any such move, arguing that it invalidates the plea bargaining agreement.

Blast off

Parson created the Blaster-B variant of the worm after modifying the original Blaster worm and launching it onto the internet in early August 2003. Blaster-B launched a distributed denial-of-service attack against a Microsoft's Windows update website from infected computers.

Blaster and its variants are internet worms which spread through exploiting a well-known vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. Blaster-B is functionally equivalent to its predecessor but creates a file called teekids.exe - rather than msblast.exe - in the Windows system folder. Parson's online handle is "teekid" or "t33kid". This and various other clues led the authorities to his door and he was arrested on 29 August 2003.

The original Blaster worm infected about one million computers in the summer of 2004. Parson's variant hit far fewer computers - infecting approximately 48,000 PCs and causing $1.2m in damage, according to court filings. The US Attorney's Office wants Parson to pay $622,500 in compensation to Microsoft, the Seattle Times reports.

Lawyers are arguing the toss ahead of a (delayed) sentencing hearing before US District Judge Marsha Pechman scheduled for Friday, 28 January. ®

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