Jeffrey Lee Parson, the author of the Blaster-B internet worm which launched an attack against Microsoft’s Web site, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and 10 months community service by a US District Court. The judge stated that she was lenient because Parson, a teenager from Hopkins, Minnesota, had acted younger than his age and had mental health issues at home. Parson will serve his time at a low-security prison.

Parson’s worm was said to have infected 48,000 computers and caused an estimated US$1.2 million in damage when it spread in August 2003.

There was speculation that Parson may receive a sentence of between 18 months and 3 years in prison. Prior to a plea bargain he had faced a possible maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In 2004, virus writers and spammers joined forces for financial gain. As a result, worldwide authorities are being more diligent in cracking down on those who plot and carry out destructive and disruptive activities.

One of the most recent arrests was in Spain on January 27, 2005. The Spanish Civil Guard announced that it had detained a 20-year-old in connection with creating and spreading the “Tasin” computer worm, which spread via email in November 2004. According to police it infected thousands of computers in Spain and South America, trashing critical Windows system files.

In October 2004, federal police in Brazil announced that they arrested 53 people for stealing money from Internet bank accounts with a series of phishing Trojan horses. Allegedly, about $30 million is said to have been stolen from online banking customers. The police operation, which involved 160 policemen, took place across four states in the north of Brazil, with most of those apprehended said to be under the age of 25. According to investigators 18 of the suspects had been imprisoned for similar offences in the past.

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