Federal law enforcement officials were joined by Microsoft's general counsel in trumpeting the arrest Friday of a Minnesota teenager believed to be responsible for releasing one version of the W32.Blaster worm earlier this month.
United States Attorney John McKay said at a press conference that the arrest of Jeffrey Lee Parson of Hopkins, Minnesota, also known by his online name "teekid," was a significant accomplishment for federal law enforcement and that the case would "deliver a message to cyberhackers here and around the world."
Parson was arrested Friday morning and charged in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, with one count of intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a protected computer.
He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, according to McKay, who said that the Blaster-B worm caused great harm to the computers it infected and to Microsoft, the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that was programmed into the worm's code.
"It doesn't seem like he was too concerned with being caught," said Craig Schmugar, a virus research engineer at security company Network Associates.
Parson's arrest may not remove a top computer criminal from society, but it could deter future virus copycats, Schmugar said.
"Obviously there's a question of whether (Parson) is as significant as the author of Blaster-A, but hopefully it will deter people from modifying future viruses," Schmugar said.