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Blaster Writer Caught 1157

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the doing-the-time-for-doing-the-crime dept.
Henry V .009 writes "The FBI will be arresting an 18 year-old in connection with MS Blaster, reports The Washington Post." According to the article, the teen was witnessed testing the worm, and then turned in by a bystander. It's also worth noting that this is merely one of the Blaster variations. Hope whoever it was had fun, because a world of pain is waiting in store now.
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Blaster Writer Caught

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  • by corebreech (469871) on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:48AM (#6822210) Journal
    How on Earth do you witness somebody writing a virus?

    He's sitting in front of a computer, hitting keys on the keyboard and looking at the monitor. That describes the person who wrote this story, the person who submitted this story, the person who posted the story, me getting first post, and everybody reading and moderating this and every other post to come.

    It also describes RMS writing Emacs, Linus debugging the kernel, and SCO issuing another press release.

    Did this witness actually read the code? What kind of idiot virus-writer lets someone he doesn't know pull up a chair and start auditing his code?

    Or was the witness tipped off when the screen start flashing "NOW TESTING VIRUS"? Damn, I hate when that happens!

    This doesn't sound quite right.
    • by Gyan (6853)
      Probably, they caught a small fly. Who then got immunity and secrecy for turning in the ubercoders. Hence, "the witness"
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:30AM (#6822882)
        Reread the article. They didn't bust the original author. They busted the lamewad that renamed msblast.exe to penis32.exe -- all he did was modify the existing virus.

        Granted, the dipshit _touched_ the virus code and released a variant (albeit an extremely unoriginal one)

        It was probably about as difficult as hex-editing a file. Gee. 5 minutes of dicking around is going to get him a life long prison ass pounding. Way to go, Genius.

        And of course the uninformed media is going to paint the dumb bastard to be THE msblast author. Can anyone say "Scapegoat?"
        • by Felinoid (16872) on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:28AM (#6823398) Homepage Journal
          There is also a possability they busted someone who was just discecting blaster not making a new varent.

          To a techno neophite there isn't much diffrence. If the guy decompiled the code and his friend looked over his sholder his friend would see someone with the blaster source.
          Decompillers aren't so well known now a days so even an experenced programmer who might normally know what he is looking at might not recognise this as decompiler output and not original source code.

          He might also not realise you generally can not recompile decompiled code.

          Or the busted teen is an idiot who said "Hay watch this. I got blaster. Now I'm chaning it to penis32. Aren't I clever?"
    • by joonasl (527630) <joonas.lyytinen@nOSpaM.iki.fi> on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:52AM (#6822222) Homepage
      How on Earth do you witness somebody writing a virus?

      Maybe they were following the XP-methodology [extremeprogramming.org] and were pair programming [extremeprogramming.org]?

    • This sounds like the Penis variant that came out shortly afterwards. The kid's a hack.. he's not the original author. It's funny. He just rode someone's coattails for fun and now he's going to do some time and have to worry about who's going to ride his coattails.
      • by banzai51 (140396) on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:14AM (#6822774) Journal
        The sad thing is they'll fail to catch the original Blaster author so they'll throw the book at this kid for the whole Blaster thing.
        • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:36AM (#6823466)
          The sad thing is they'll fail to catch the original Blaster author so they'll throw the book at this kid for the whole Blaster thing.

          This seems to be the prevailing sentiment here and honestly, it's making you all look like a bunch of script kiddies, or at the very least script kiddie sympathizers.

          Fact is this 18 year old "kid" (actually, adult in this country) committed a crime if he wrote this virus variant and distributed it. While he's still innocent until proven guilty, I fail to see how it's "sad" to get any virus writer - big or small - out of the virus writing business.

          This is the way law enforcement works. You can't catch everybody who commits a crime, and if you don't show that you're actively enforcing the law, there will be more criminals. Study after study after study have shown this to be the absolute truth. Even if they don't catch the writer of the original Blaster, catching this guy and making an example out of him - as well as any other virus writers they no doubt will catch in the future - will act as something of a deterrent. You're all operating under the assumption that this guy is a small-fry writing viruses in his spare time - you think it's worth it to a guy like that to risk jail time? No, and this will cause others like him to think twice.

          Obvious analogy - when there aren't any cops around, I see a lot of people run red lights. When there is a cop stationed at an intersection, I see nobody running red lights. Funny how that works.

          And if his punishment is harsh, so what? If he's found guilty, he's a criminal. He deserves whatever he gets at that point. People need to take responsibility for their own actions and realize that their actions have consequences, both for the people they directly affect (ie. those infected by this variant of the Blaster virus) and for themselves. You'd think Slashdot readers would have a little more grasp of this concept than most (being open-source advocates), but it appears this may not be the case.
          • by emilng (641557) on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:59AM (#6823688)
            By your rationale, we should start caning graffiti artists in the US because that would be "something of a deterrent."
            It's not a matter of whether he is guilty or not, but whether he is going to get a punishment that will fit the crime.
            I wouldn't be surprised if the media makes this out into another Kevin Mitnick [kevinmitnick.com] scenario.
            • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon@MONETgmail.com minus painter> on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:32AM (#6824623)
              By your rationale, we should start caning graffiti artists in the US because that would be "something of a deterrent."

              I don't think the parent poster made any comments about WHAT the punishment should be, so please don't start citing rather harsh treatments to make your argument look more interesting. You could have just as easily made the statement, "By your rationale, we should start putting graffiti artists in jail for a month because that would be 'something of a deterrent.'".

              Anyway, consider the fact that even though this guy only modified an existing virus, his crimes are EXACTLY the same as those of the original programmer. Writing a virus isn't a crime. Unleashing it and causing damage (economic or physical) to the property of others IS a crime. By modifying the virus, he created a new pattern that virus scanners would not recognize and thus was able to create similar damage as that of the original virus. Please explain to me how this isn't as bad as what the original author did.

              My argument, by the way, is similar to ones made against the DMCA. The DMCA is being used to prosecute people who construct devices that CAN by used to circumvent copy protection. However, I think most of us agree that the real culprits are those that use it for such. In the case of viruses, if I construct a new virus, but never let it loose, am I guilty? If you manage to swipe a copy of the virus while you're at a LAN party at my house and then let it loose, aren't you the guilty one? If both of us unleash copies of the virus, aren't we both guilty?

          • by ImpTech (549794) on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:25AM (#6823895)
            >And if his punishment is harsh, so what? If he's found guilty, he's a criminal. He deserves whatever he gets at that point.

            NO NO NO NO! He deserves a punishment fitting the crime. If he wrote one variant, he should NOT be incriminated based on the damage done by ALL the variants. Sure he should get into serious trouble. Sure he should probably do some jail time. But my fear is that people will get carried away because of all the virus/worm activity lately and give him a lot worse than he's due. We'd like to think the justice system is above that, but sadly thats not always the case.
    • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <.yoda. .at. .etoyoc.com.> on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:56AM (#6822241) Homepage Journal
      He could have been dumb enough to test it on a computer lab at school, or at a library. The "witness" could have been a network administrator monitoring the system.

      Of course the witness was also last seen purchasing a shark tank and some laser beams...

    • Almost certainly, "witnessed" here means bragged to, which frankly makes perfect sense for an 18 year old probably male, probably virgin programmer. Hey, if he's up all night reading /. he may yet beat the feds and run to Canada ;^)

      • by RedBear (207369) <redbear@reYEATSdbearnet.com minus poet> on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:43AM (#6823533) Homepage
        Ha ha, yes, it is quite amusing to be sent to prison for a nonviolent offense (typing on a keyboard, for instance) and subsequently violently raped repeatedly by multiple large black men while the guards stand by and laugh and the prison wardens make no effort to keep it from happening. We will be sure to laugh heartily when you, your brother, father, son, uncle and/or cousins are sentenced to 30 days for some minor offense which they may or may not have committed. We will chuckle about the fact that they have a very good chance of coming home broken and scarred physically and psychologically by their horrifying experiences. Ha ha ha.

        Rape is immoral. Rape is inhuman. Rape is cruel and unusual punishment, and we have laws against that. I always find it entertaining how our entire prison establishment feels these laws are unimportant, and our culture thinks that jokes about young, weak, and sometimes innocent people getting forcibly sodomized is a fabulous thing to joke about. Wait, no, I don't find it entertaining. I find it makes me sick to my stomach.

        It's also heartening to see every prison rape joke getting a +5, Funny. Thank you, moderators. Great way to get karma. Keep up the good work.

        Help Stop Prisoner Rape [spr.org] by not treating it like a joke.
        • The fact that the crime was PHYSICALLY non-violent is irrelevant. Distributing a virus causes destruction of virtual structures and physically important data. It may have been a non-violent offense, but it WAS a destructive offense, eating up God only knows how much in manpower, lost data, and wasted time.

          As far as prisoner rape goes, it's a crime of violence, every feminist tells us so. If J.Random Virus Hacker goes to jail and gets raped, he/she reports the crime. The Authorities then have their job

          • by arkane1234 (457605) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:19AM (#6824468) Journal
            On the other hand, nobody ever said prison was supposed to be all Tea and Crumpets, either: it's punishment for crimes committed and convicted. .

            The punishment is incarceration, it is NOT sodomy. I have never heard a judge say in his/her verdict, "and I convict the defendant to 5 years of incarceration, with the occasional guy holding him down and taking him anally". NO. It's against the law. Just because it's prison, it doesn't mean it's alright to break laws. Gee, if that's the case, you could slip small boys into the prison for the whole yard to have a little fun with, jesus.

    • by phagstrom (451510) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:01AM (#6822266)
      All virus/worm/trojan writers use MovieOS where stuff like "Assembling Virus" and "Testing Virus" are written to the screen in blinking fonts.

      Didn't you ever see Swordfish? ;-)
    • I bet this wittness was a person who was a friend of his who ratted him out. He probablly told him or showed him something about what he was actually doing.
    • Blaster.B, which is the version this person is alleged to have written, is a very simple variation. Shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to write using a hex editor. All he did was change the filename and a couple of the 'Bill' strings.

      On the other hand: its kind of like someone walking past a masacre, picking up the gun the culprit left and shooting everyone who still twitches.
  • Also reported... (Score:4, Informative)

    by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexusuk.oGAUSSrg minus math_god> on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:50AM (#6822214) Homepage
    Also reported by the BBC [bbc.co.uk]
  • by earthloop (449575) on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:52AM (#6822223) Homepage
    The FBI will be arresting an 18 year-old

    Coder: Huh? They are coming for me? I'd better get moving before they get here.

  • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <.yoda. .at. .etoyoc.com.> on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:53AM (#6822226) Homepage Journal
    Lucky the authorities got to him first that is. Well they say there are more virus authors out there. Hopefully all that dental equipment I bought on Ebay will be put to good use.
  • by msim (220489) on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:54AM (#6822232) Homepage Journal
    I mean, maybe he borrowed his mates computer to do something, saw something interesting, then got told to take a long walk off a short plank when he tried to blackmail him.

    Well until someone is caught and Proven to have written the virus, as far as im concerned it is a bunch of FUD.
  • Passer by? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:54AM (#6822234)
    That sounds fishy.

    The average person wouldn't have a clue about what a developer was doing. There's no way someone can walk by and know that the guy was testing a virus.
    • from the story:

      The "Blaster.B" version of the infection, which began spreading Aug. 13, was remarkably similar to the original Blaster worm that struck two days earlier; experts said its author made few changes, including renaming the infecting-file from "msblast" to an anatomical reference.

      can you say "PENIS.EXE" that was the executable name of the variant.

      And any bystander seeing some kid playing with "PENIS" might call the police.

      How to code this: "RENAME MSBLAST.EXE PENIS.EXE" (and a replace of t
  • by L-s-L69 (700599) on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:55AM (#6822237)
    The article states that this "18 year old" is the author, but later on it talks about how he was "observed testing" which all sounds a bit dubious. Assuming he is the author I have very little sympathy, virus writers need to be accountable for their actions. If however he is just been made a scapegoat......
  • by watzinaneihm (627119) on Friday August 29, 2003 @05:59AM (#6822253) Journal
    I submitted this story sometime ago, but got rejected. The kid actually did not write the MSBlaster worm, he modified it to make it more potent and released it. story here [sfgate.com]
  • Bragging (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PrImED73 (695394) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:00AM (#6822260) Homepage
    Perhaps, as some kids are at that age do (not all before you flame me), he had been bragging about it in an irc chat room, had an enemy/concerned chatter catch wind of it and reported it to the feds with logs and IP information.

    Why not eh? stranger things have happened at sea.
  • by r00zky (622648) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:03AM (#6822275)
    ...I got a virus in my computer and... and... it wrote another itself!

    Just remember this [slashdot.org]
  • HAX0R!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:06AM (#6822284)
    It can take weeks of computer forensics to identify what someone was creating on a computer, so I doubt very much that they're 100% certain this kid is guilty without inspecting his equipment. And last I checked they need proof before assigning guilt (unless Ashcroft's already removed that clause from US law).
  • Yo, RTFP/RTFA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RedBear (207369) <redbear@reYEATSdbearnet.com minus poet> on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:06AM (#6822285) Homepage
    Yo, RFTP/RTFA. It says in both the article and the post that the witness saw the person "testing" the virus, not writing it. Which is even more scary in a way. How did the witness know what he was doing? What day was it? Which version is he supposed to have written? Oh, and there has been "no arrest made in this matter yet."

    The BBC article contains a bit more info: It says he's suspected of altering the original MSBlast worm into one that would cause more damage.

    It also says: "Reports suggest he is likely to be arrested by the end of the day." WTF? They're giving him advance warning?!? Run, boy, RUN!!! LOL.
  • by schappim (656944) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:07AM (#6822290)
    Anyone who's imagenation peaks at nameing one of the most significant viruses of out time as 'MS Blaster' deserves to get caught!
  • by Xel'Naga (673728) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:07AM (#6822291)
    IIRC, the boy tried to DDOS www.windowsupdate.com, which is not the URL people usually use for windowsupdate.
    Makes you wonder what a professional terrorist could do. The worm could have been far more destructive.
  • by jabbadabbadoo (599681) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:15AM (#6822317)
    The worlds most intelligent bystander has just been identified.
  • He's innocent. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:32AM (#6822370) Homepage

    Or have we forgotten how the system works?

    Alleged writer. Innocent until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.

    Based on this report, the evidence so far is one witness of unknown competence. "Testing the infection"? I "tested the infection" yesterday by making sure that AVG can contain Blaster.

    Oh, I'm sure that the FBI aren't (quite) dumb enough to announce this without doing some investigation, but the fact that they're announcing it as a fait accompli before they've even made the arrest indicates that this is a PR exercise.

    But that's irrelevant speculation, because whatever their or my or your opinion on it, this guy is innocent... pause for breath... until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. Let's drop the tabloid press pack mentality here.

    • Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

      He's innocent....Alleged writer. Innocent until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.

      Close. He is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; the presumption doesn't change whether or not he is actually innocent, it only affects how he is tried.

      For example: all those of you sharing MP3s of Metallica's latest: you are guilty of copyright infringement (as defined by statute); however, if (when?) you are picked up on charges, you will be presumed innocent by the court until proven guilty. That presu

  • by TechnoGrl (322690) on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:33AM (#6822373)
    ....what can just as easily be attributed to stupidity.

    I guess this puts a finish to the "spammers are releasing viri into the wild" theories??
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:36AM (#6822384)
    Researchers also discovered another message hidden inside the infection that appeared (emphasis added) to taunt Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates: "billy gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software!"

    Yup, that's cryptic alright. I'll bet the FBI's first question will be to ask what he meant by that.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79.gmail@com> on Friday August 29, 2003 @06:38AM (#6822389) Homepage
    This kid wasn't doing ANYTHING WRONG!

    This is the beauty of OPEN SOURCE!! He got ahold of some code, modified and improved it, and released it back into the public domain! That's how it's SUPPOSED to work!

    Think of the outrage that would have been touched off if he kept the modified code for his own use... INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE!!!

    Where do I send my money? This guy is a HERO, not a CRIMINAL!

  • No blame for MS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bucketman (120935) <ewillis@@@esande...com> on Friday August 29, 2003 @07:02AM (#6822463) Homepage
    So the writers of these virii certainly are doing a bad thing and certainly are aware of this, but it seems to me that Windows/Outlook/Office ship with a big red button and endless admonitions not to push it. Of the two, the button maker and the button pusher, I know who I find fault with most, but I suspect that the media and most observers are becoming accustomed to these ridiculous risk exposures as somehow inherent in computing and thus tend not to blame the button maker. Think also that this effect has something to do with why these problems never seem to actually get *fixed*.
  • more news (Score:5, Funny)

    by Molina the Bofh (99621) on Friday August 29, 2003 @07:50AM (#6822645) Homepage
    Redmond, VA: The youngster will be charged by two companies with accusations of reverse engineering. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Microsoft is accusing him of implementing a piece of code that circunvents patented Microsoft's Windows protection.

    Richard Ludwig, attorney for Microsoft, said "My clients believe that the writer of this virus is actively destroying the value of my client's proprietary technology, and demand that this viral activity cease immediately."

    Mark Scheise, attorney for SCO, said the teenager violated its intellectual property rights by using SCO code in the virus. He said that each bit from its code was a perfect match with SCO's code. "He was using exactly the same two bits as SCO, just in another sequence". Scheise also added that this was not just a coincidence, and denied any request to disclose wich are the two bits. "I can't tell you wich are these two bits, but I assure you they're the same as thos used by SCO".
  • 7-11 (Score:4, Funny)

    by golgotha007 (62687) on Friday August 29, 2003 @07:57AM (#6822675)
    i hope he gets to finish his Big Gulp before the feds throw him in the van...
  • by syntap (242090) on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:11AM (#6822751)
    With "Free Kevin" already on my bumper I'm running out of room... can we just have a "Free Hackerz" or "Free Lamerz" sticker for this one?
  • LOVE SAN! (Score:3, Funny)

    by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:40AM (#6822961) Homepage Journal
    It is clear what has happened. Young passions don't last. San (Sandra? Sanchez? Sanitarytowel?) has finally cracked and dumped her acne-faced geek-boy in the worst possible way...
  • by joshsnow (551754) on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:55AM (#6823079) Journal
    When I read the piece, my initial reaction was, "They really should arrest Bill Gates". However, on some reflection, I'm not so sure Microsoft is the sole source of all the disruption over these worms.

    OK, so the MS software makes worms and virus spreading relatively easy, due to activeX, executable mail attachments and bad security "out of the box" (open ports, exposed services such as RPC etc).

    Still, if a motor manufacturer sold a mass market car without locks, windows or an alarm system, would anybody buy it?

    The answer is, probably not. There's the issue of personal responsability to obtain a secure car. Same with software. Maybe it's all of those major businesses and misguided "CIOs" who keep buying Microsoft who ought to be arrested. Between them and the Microsoft execs, they've managed to create an environment which makes it easy for these bored young men to create worms.

    Poor 18 year old guy. Why should he be arrested? After all, what's a script(kiddie) among friends?
  • by Penguin2212 (173380) on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:01AM (#6823137)
    The MSBlast worm was responsible for one of the worst computer security outbreaks of this year.

    Where it should read....

    Microsoft was responsible for one of the worst computer security outbreaks of this year.

    From the BBC article found here [bbc.co.uk]

    Personally, the media is more focused on promoting the stereotype of the teenage kid who has go nothing better to do that 'hack' computer systems. The emphasis should be on why it was so easy for an amateur was able to write such a destructive program. Bottom line is that Microsoft writes bad software, and people need to know this. Obviously Microsoft isn't 100% responsible for this, but making a media scapegoat isn't going to solve the underlying problem. I don't feel sorry at all for the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles. They deserved what happened to them, it was only through their own ignorance that it happened. People in today's society want to use computer, bur rarely take the time to learn and understand even the most basic principles of how they work. And what heppens is after that, they expect techies like us to take their shit.
  • Prison rape (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Boing (111813) on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:24AM (#6823367)
    Okay, this will likely be treated as a troll, but I have a little karma to burn. I have issue with the people who are moderating the numerous "haha this guy will get raped in jail" comments as "funny". Prison rape is a serious issue, as much as real-world rape. This kid is eighteen. He did something that pissed off a lot of the world (including most of the people reading slashdot). But, legally or not, he's a damn kid. If you're older than eighteen, how many asswitted things did you do when you were that age? Would you have ever thought that the idea of you getting raped for any of them was acceptable?

    I expect the comments in the first place. It's inevitable among any community that has people the likes of the "Frist p0st" and "go to cnn.com [cnn.com] [secret link to goatse.cx]" commenters. But the moderation system is in place so that crap like that can get ignored by the people who don't want to hear it.

    If you think it's funny, Obviously I can't/won't stop you from moderating it that way. But think about the real issue behind it before you encourage lighthearted humor about rape.

  • More info (Score:3, Informative)

    by GyroTech (699879) on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:02AM (#6823718) Homepage
    A quick snippit of info over at The Register [theregister.co.uk] seems to hint that the kid did in fact write Blaster-B, not the patching varient (does anyone remeber CodeGreen after CodeRed??).
    Seems that he was 'under surveillance', was caught testing the varient, and is going to be charged with writing the varient.
  • by Capt_Troy (60831) <tfandango@yah o o . com> on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:07AM (#6823748) Homepage Journal
    So what do we do with this stupid kid? In an age when dorking around on your computer can cause millions of dollars in lost revenue (albiet, you probably know if you're about to release a worm), these things are going to happen more and more often.

    1) Does this kid need to learn his lession in jail?
    No, This kid is young. He's stupid. I'm sure he didn't do this realizing that he'd be headed to jail in a few months (if proven guilty). But what do you do with someone who's broken the law like this? Send him to Microsoft to learn how to fix bugs and become a programmer? Take him to the programmer who was responsible for the bug and tell them that this 18 year old kid made him look like a dumbass? Who knows?

    2) Does Microsoft need to fix their insecurities?
    This is as much MS's fault as it is anyone elses. I mean, if I bought a car (I hate to bring the whole car analogy thing up again) and someone came along and leaned up on it wrong and it stopped working. I'd be pissed at the manufacturer, not so much the leaner (who is laying on the ground with a bloody nose by now).

    Just some thoughts.
    T.
  • by miradu2000 (196048) * on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:56AM (#6824243) Homepage
    IS it really worth ruining a persons life, if he is found guilty, just becuase you as a sys admin had to deal with an inconvience. Windows update didn't go down, maybe some of your time was spent dealing with it, but that is YOUR JOB. And if your network isn't up to date with updates, IMHO, it's your damn fault.

    Sadly he'l be the scaegoat while all the network admins, microsoft etc gets to go free. I just don't think that any punishment they give him will fit the crime... Personally i think he just needs to do some community service, what he did was wrong, but nothing truely bad.
  • by phorm (591458) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:25AM (#6824543) Journal
    Who would understand he was actually writing a virus? Well, perhaps a fellow coder, a hacker, a classmate?

    But then that brings the question: such individuals are usually fairly close-knit. If you're around the dude long enough to realize his code is a blaster-variant, and he is somewhat of a friend, or good associate, would you turn him in? How many geeks would?

    It's a hard decision, especially with a decent chance that with the current upset over said viruses even a script-kiddy variant-writer is going to get lynched after being caught. It'd make him/her a good example for other would-be virus writers, but would you do it to somebody you know?

    Of course, many such geeks are vain. It could have been somebody declaring, "you think blaster was bad... wait until you see the badass variant I'm writing. I'm going to 0WZ0R J00"...
  • by RoadWarriorX (522317) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:33AM (#6824630) Homepage
    Researchers also discovered another message hidden inside the infection that appeared to taunt Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates: "billy gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software!"


    Gee, maybe we should take his message more seriously. Maybe the author of the worm is correct in some aspects. Some say that Microsoft is solely to blame for this. I'd say it is not 100% correct. There is a shared blame for the security problems:

    1. Microsoft, like many other companies, always preferred to have features and ease-of-use over security. To be fair, Microsoft and it's security initiatives have been somewhat successful, the preference still remains. The security problems still will continue.
    2. The U.S. Government, specifically the Federal Trade Commission. They has continually ignored the fact that security problems in Microsoft software has costed the government, businesses and individuals billons of dollars combined over the years. We see that monetary quantification all of the time, however, the always forget the real impact of individuals. These security problems do affect the daily life of individuals, from deleted homework assignments to identity theft.
    3. The Mass Market. This is because the mass-market of computer users want simplicity because they are not willing to take the time to learn about it's implications. They are technologically challenged. So, the mass-market users are mostly willing to sacrifice their security and privacy in order to have this simplicity. If they still continue to use products knowing that their time, their identity, their money and their life might be affected by the use of these products, then I do not feel sorry for them at all. They've made their consumer choices, let them learn from their mistakes.


    --
    No memory available for sig. Please reboot now.
  • Why Prison? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by merky1 (83978) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:34AM (#6824638) Journal

    It seems that everyone here is focused on putting this guy in prison. I really can't justify putting someone who wrote a virus in prison while CEOs who have stole billions roam free.

    Not to mention, there were two components to this problem. People need to stand up and take some responsibility when thier machines get infected. Personal firewalls and anti-virus have become common place, so I don't take that as an excuse.

    Yes, the kid should get some probation, possibly some community service managing / repairing systems for underprivelaged folks. But then that would depend on the legal system being motivated by rehabilitation and not retribution.

  • Scapegoat? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Attaturk (695988) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:51AM (#6824808) Homepage
    Apart from the obvious "innocent until proven guilty" matter, how about we don't publicly hang some kid for tweaking a virus until we've found the real author and proved his/her guilt.
  • by Mooncaller (669824) on Friday August 29, 2003 @12:23PM (#6825110)
    Stop propagating the MS spin. Just because MS has convinced the mainstream media and the Anti-virus software houses ( whos entire buisness is dependent on MS) to change the name does not mean everyone needs to do the same. The only true name for the virus is MSBlaster.

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