Blaster worm suspect arrested and named - computers seized in Minnesota. Sophos Anti-Virus comments

August 30, 2003 Sophos Press Release

The identity of the teenager arrested on charges related to a variant of the Blaster internet worm has been revealed.

Jeffrey Lee Parson, 18, was arrested on Friday 29 August and made a court appearance in St. Paul, Minnesota. Parson appeared in court wearing a faded t-shirt bearing the words "Big Daddy", as well as cargo shorts and sneakers. Judge Susan Nelson ordered Parson to be held under house arrest, although government lawyers had argued that Parson should be kept in jail, based on the "grievous and substantial" harm he was said to have caused other computer users.

Parson's arrest follows a search of his home at Hopkins, Minnesota, by FBI and Secret Service agents on Tuesday, where seven computers were seized.

It is claimed that Parson, who is believed to use the online handle "teekid" or "t33kid", admitted to FBI Special Agent Eric Smithmier that he modified the original Blaster worm and created the W32/Blaster-B variant.

Parson, reportedly a physically imposing figure, at 6-foot-4-inches tall and weighing 320 pounds, is said to have run a website where viruses were made available for download alongside lyrics for songs by Judas Priest, Megadeth and Weird Al Yankovic.

"The crime-fighting authorities have moved quickly in this case - sending a strong message that law enforcement agencies around the world are getting better at catching cyber-criminals," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "It is to be hoped that other budding virus writers think twice before unleashing their worms on innocent computer users."

W32/Blaster-B is functionally equivalent to its predecessor, W32/Blaster-A, but creates a file called teekids.exe rather than msblast.exe in the Windows system folder. It also creates a different registry entry and includes some offensive text (which does not get displayed) directed towards Microsoft, Bill Gates, and the anti-virus industry.

In January 2003, British virus writer, Simon Vallor, was sentenced to two years in jail for distributing a number of viruses he had written.