Blaster-B worm author sentenced to 18 months in jail - but bigger villain remains free, Sophos reports

January 28, 2005 Sophos Press Release

Jeffrey Lee Parson
Jeffrey Lee Parson has been sentenced to 18 months jail for the Blaster-B worm.

Jeffrey Lee Parson, the teenager from Hopkins, Minnesota, who wrote the Blaster-B internet worm which launched an attack against Microsoft's website has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and 100 hours of community service by a US District Court.

Parson's worm, the court heard, infected 48,000 computers and caused an estimated $1.2 million in damage when it spread in August 2003.

"An 18 month prison sentence is probably the best that Jeffrey Parson could have realistically hoped for. The US authorities have demonstrated their determination to deal with virus writers and other cybercriminals," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Parson's sentence sends out a strong message to other young people that writing viruses is a fool's game. Parson and his parents will be regretting the day he decided to get involved in virus-writing."

Parson, who went by the online handle of "Teekid", based his virus upon the virulent Blaster-A worm which exploited a serious security hole in Microsoft's software as it spread around the globe.

Parson, a physically imposing figure at 6-foot-4-inches tall and weighing 320 pounds, included a link inside the worm to his website where he made viruses available for download alongside lyrics for songs by Judas Priest, Megadeth and Weird Al Yankovic.

US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman additionally imposed three years of supervised release following Parson's prison term, during which he can only use computers for business and education purposes - not video games, file-sharing or hacking. Pechman told Parson to complete 100 hours of community service - 10 hours a month for 10 months - and said she would give him credit for SAT or other classes as long as he takes the courses with live people, and not over the internet.

"You can't help but feel sorry for Jeffrey Parson - he was clearly a kid with issues, who got mixed up in a game with far bigger consequences than he could have ever imagined," continued Cluley. "It must not be forgotten that the identity of the author of the original Blaster worm, who infected many many more computers than Parson, is still a mystery. Despite a $250,000 bounty on their head - we are still no closer to unmasking the culprit. Jeffrey Parson is small fry when compared to the major virus-writing criminals who are still at large."

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