Sophos welcomes decision but calls for swifter sentencing
Sophos, the leading developer of corporate anti-virus
protection, has welcomed the sentencing by a US court of David L.
Smith - the self-confessed author of the infamous Melissa worm - to 20
months imprisonment and a fine of $5,000. The Melissa worm was the
first ever successful mass-mailing worm and has provided the
blueprint for many other mass mailers including The Love Bug and
Anna Kournikova. The New Jersey court adjudged Smith's worm to have
caused more than £55 million pounds worth of damage.
However, with Smith first confessing to writing and distributing the
worm in 1999, Sophos is calling for swifter action by the
courts to increase the deterrent to future virus writers.
"The Melissa worm was a serious security breach, inconveniencing
millions of computer users the world over - it's important that
Smith has been dealt with in an appropriate manner by the US
courts," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos
Anti-Virus. "It's just a shame that the authorities couldn't have
worked quicker to bring him to book. Smith has already been a dark
inspiration to a whole generation of script kiddies - these copycat
virus writers would have undoubtedly thought twice before
distributing their malicious code if their hero was serving
Melissa, named after a Florida stripper admired by David L
Smith, congested the email systems of thousands of companies
worldwide causing many to panic and shut down their internet
connection to the outside world.