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15 Mar 2005

Man jailed for Trojan horse which made 911 nuisance calls, Sophos reports

Gavel
The Trojan's author has been sentenced to six months in prison.

A US court has sentenced a Louisiana man to six months in prison for infecting WebTV users with a Trojan horse that made nuisance phone calls to the emergency services.

David Jeansonne, 41, of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty last month to causing a threat to public safety and causing damage to computers. On Monday 14 March he was sentenced to six months in prison, and ordered to pay Microsoft more than $27,100. US District Judge Ronald M Whyte sentenced Jeansonne to serve an additional six months home detention.

The WebTV service, now known as MSN TV, allows subscribers to connect to the internet using their television. Jeansonne's Trojan horse was emailed to users in 2002, posing as a program which would change colours on their TV screens. However, the attached file reset the settings on the user's WebTV box making it dial 911 next time it attempted to connect to the internet. Approximately 20 users are said to have received the email, and 10 reported that the local police either telephoned or visited their home in response to the emergency phone call.

"It's good to see firm action being taken against another author of malicious code," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Making prank phone calls to the police is a dangerous occupation which could have life threatening repercussions for innocent members of the general public, writing a program to automatically cause this kind of nuisance demonstrates a whole new level of moronic behaviour."

Sophos continues to recommend that all internet users are wary of unsolicited email attachments.

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.