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Blaster copycat author jailed for 18 months

Parson escapes with minimum sentence

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Jeffrey Lee Parson, author of a variant of the infamous Blaster worm, has been jailed for 18 months. The 19-year-old was also ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and spend three years on probation following his release at a sentencing hearing at the US District Court in Seattle last Friday (28 January).

Rather than risk going to prison for up to ten years, Parson pleaded guilty to "intentionally causing damage to a protected computer" in making a plea bargaining agreement last year. The sentence imposed by US District Judge Marsha Pechman was at the lowest end of the 18 and 37 months of federal time stipulated under this agreement. Judge Pechman took Parson's history of mental health problems and "grim home life" into account as mitigation to his crimes when deciding a sentence, The Seattle Times reports.

Parson, from Hopkins, Minnesota, created Blaster-B 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 - specifically a critical Remote Procedure Call (RPC) DCOM flaw. 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 2003. Parson's variant hit far fewer computers - infecting approximately 48,000 PCs and causing an estimated $1.2m in damage, according to court filings. A hearing to decide how much in restitution Parson will be required to pay to Microsoft and others affected by his malware is due to take place in February. ®

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