The arrest of the alleged author of a modified version of the "Blaster" worm sends a message to virus writers that the federal government will seek out and prosecute such crimes, so say U.S. law enforcement agents.
The U.S. Attorneys office confirmed Friday afternoon that federal agents have arrested 18-year-old Jeffrey Lee Parson of Hopkins, Minn., for intentionally damaging a computer, a violation of U.S. criminal code. If prosecuted, Parson will face a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and/or $250,000 in fines.
"With this arrest we want to deliver a message, here and around the world: The DOJ takes these crimes very seriously," said U.S. Attorney John McKay, who said his office in Seattle is dedicated to fighting cybercrime.
"Let there be no mistake about it, cyber-hacking is a crime," McKay added. "It harms persons, it harms individuals, it harms businesses. We will investigate, track down and prosecute cyber-hackers."
Parson is being charged with modifying the original "Blaster," or "LovSan," virus and releasing it on the Intenet, infecting at least 7,000 PCs and using them as "drones" to mount a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, according to the complaint filed by the U.S. Attorneys office. Anti-virus vendor Symantec Corp. said the worm infected over 500,000 machines, which were programmed to attack Microsoft Corp.s WindowsUpdate.com Web site; Microsoft successfully redirected the attack.
"We will not be deterred by national boundaries, we are never deterred by state boundaries, and we will pursue people as far as we can to prosecute crimes," McKay said.
Although McKay said that Parson was identified through standard police work, the complaint filed by the U.S. Attorneys office describes a rather mundane methodology of seeking out and determining Parsons identity. McKay described the investigation as "ongoing."