Conclusion Introduction There are no precise, reliable statistics on the amount of computer crime and the economic loss to victims, partly because many of these crimes are apparently not detected by victims, many of these crimes are never reported to authorities, and partly because the losses are often difficult to calculate.
When Morris applied for re-admission a few years later, Cornell refused to accept him.
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Morris earned his Ph. Bibliography on the Morris Worm There are a number of technical publications that discuss the Morris worm and its effect on computers that constituted the Internet: Available from a website in Canada and also from Purdue.
Spafford, The Internet Worm Program: Available from Purdue University. The June issue Vol. This virus was released in three shareware programs: Blumenthal wrote the virus and inserted it in the three programs. Blumenthal also created an anonymous account on a Cornell computer, so that apparently untraceable file transfers could be made.
The initial victims downloaded the programs from Stanford and infected their computers. As these victims shared their infected files with other users, they unwittingly spread the virus to additional victims.
However, this virus could cause harm in three different ways: The virus caused some programs to crash when the user selected an item from the menu bar. If the user assumes the system has hung, and reboots the Macintosh while this is occurring, the entire system file will be corrupted and an entire reload of system software must then be performed.
If the victim rebooted the computer during those several seconds, application files on the computer could become corrupted.
To recover from such problems, the victim first needed to run anti-virus software to delete the MBDF virus, then any corrupted files e. Depending on the skill of the victim in identifying which files were damaged, the recovery process could take hours or days.
Compared with other malicious programs, the damage from the MBDF virus was relatively small. The only reason that I mention the MBDF virus in this essay is that it is one of a very few cases in which the author and distributors of a malicious program were arrested and punished for their crime.
Experts in computer security at several universities promptly traced the origin of the MBDF virus to Cornell University.
Pilgrim cooperated with the police, told them the details of what had happened, and incriminated Blumenthal. As reports of infected computers were received from all over the USA, Japan, Europe, Australia, and Canada, the district attorney contemplated increasing the charges to a felony, because he could prove a larger harm than what had initially been apparent.
One of them was granted immunity from criminal prosecution in exchange for his testimony. The other, who will be identified here by the fictitious name Doe, was indicted along with Blumenthal and Pilgrim, but Doe later had his record expunged. The indictment included four counts of first-degree computer tampering a felonyand also seven counts of attempted computer tampering a misdemeanorplus one count of second-degree attempted computer tampering.
In addition, Blumenthal alone was charged with felony counts of forgery and falsifying business records, for his creation of the anonymous computer account at Cornell University.
On 4 SeptemberBlumenthal and Pilgrim each pled guilty to one count of second-degree computer tampering, a misdemeanor, in exchange for the dismissal of all other charges and neither prison nor fines. The court clerk has informed me that there is no written Judgment filed for either Blumenthal or Pilgrim.
University administrators must be ready to deal with both the legal and public relations aspects of arrests of students for creating malicious computer programs. The Pathogen virus counted the number of executable e.
COM files that it infected. What makes the Pathogen virus worth including here is that its author is one of the very few authors of malicious computer programs who were arrested and convicted. Other viruses and worms have been much more widespread, and caused much more damage, but their authors have generally been able to avoid prison e.
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Introduction This essay contains a description of several famous malicious computer programs (e.g., computer viruses and worms) that caused extensive harm, and it reviews the legal consequences of each incident, including the nonexistent or lenient punishment of the program's author.