, The Associated Press 2005-01-28
A Minnesota man was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison and 10 months of community service after pleading guilty to unleashing a variant of the Blaster Internet worm in 2003.Jeffrey Lee Parson, 19, of Hopkins, Minn., was a high school senior when he downloaded and modified the worm. His variant launched a distributed denial-of-service attack against a Microsoft Corp. Web site as well as personal computers.
The government estimated Parson's version of Blaster crippled more than 48,000 computers.
Parson initially pleaded innocent, but changed his plea last summer to one count of intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a protected computer.
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said she was sentencing him at the low end of the agreed-upon range because although he was 18 at the time of the attack his maturity level was much younger than that.
Parson will serve his time at a low-security prison. He had faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"I know I've made a huge mistake and I hurt a lot of people and I feel terrible," Parson told the judge.
Pechman told Parson: "What you've done is a terrible thing. Aside from injuring individuals and their computers you shook the foundation of the system."
Parson was charged in Seattle because Microsoft is based in suburban Redmond.
Authorities have said Parson admitted that he previously launched attacks against other organizations, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.
Parson had been out of jail on a $25,000 pretrial bond pending sentencing. He was not allowed to leave his home in Minnesota except to go to work, or if supervised and preapproved by the court.
Collectively, different versions of the virus-like worm, alternately called LovSan or Blaster, snarled corporate computer networks worldwide, affecting millions of machines.
Parson told investigators he built into his version of the Blaster worm a method for reconnecting to victim computers later, according to court papers. Infected computers automatically registered themselves with Parson's Web site so he could keep track of them.