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23 Jul 2003

Virus writer's appeal fails - Simon Vallor's two year jail sentence stands

Simon Vallor

Simon Vallor, the Welsh virus writer who infected thousands of computers, has failed to have his prison sentence cut on appeal.

Vallor, 22, was jailed for two years at Southwark Crown Court in January 2003. But at London's Court of Appeal on 21 July his counsel, Grant Van-Stone, argued that the Welsh web designer did not realise the extent of damage his viruses would cause. However, Mr Justice Aikens dismissed the appeal, saying that Vallor's crimes were "calculated and disruptive."

Experts at Sophos's virus lab found that Vallor's Redesi worm - which posed as a message from Microsoft warning of cyber-terrorists following the September 11th attacks - attempted to delete data from infected users' hard drives. His Gokar worm also had a malicious payload - it attempted to overwrite the main page on the websites of infected companies.

At the time of his original sentencing businesses showed little sympathy to Vallor. In a survey conducted by Sophos 46% of respondents said they felt the sentence of two years was not harsh enough.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.