Teenage worm suspect pleads not guilty

Teenage worm suspect pleads not guilty

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Reuters
September 18, 2003, 15:30 BST

Update: Jeffrey Parson, who is accused of creating a variant of the MSBlast worm, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing damage to a computer

Jeffrey Lee Parson, the teen suspected of creating a variant of the destructive MSBlast worm, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Seattle to one count of causing damage to a computer.

If convicted of intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a computer, the 18-year-old high school senior from Minnesota, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 (?155,904) fine.

According to a complaint filed in US District Court, Parson told law enforcement officials that he created a variant of the worm, which exploited a flaw in Microsoft's Windows software.

MSBlast and its variants are self-replicating Internet worms that bore through a Windows security hole, harnessing computers to launch concerted data attacks via the Internet.

Parson, flanked by two federal public defenders, appeared in a gray T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. Standing over 6 feet tall and weighing more than 300 pounds, he sported a bleach-blond Mohawk haircut and occasionally wiped sweat from his forehead.

Judge Mary Alice Theiler set the next court date for 17 November.

Theiler ordered that Parson, who was arrested in late August, continue to be held under house arrest, although his attorneys secured an amendment that would let him leave home to work in addition to attending school.

Parson was banned from using the Internet, surfing the World Wide Web or using messaging services during his trial.



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