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Microsoft drops fine for worm

Associated Press

SEATTLE – First, it was a federal judge who took pity on Jeffrey Lee Parson. Now, it’s Microsoft Corp.

The 19-year-old from Hopkins, Minn., won’t have to pay the $500,000 in restitution he owes the company for releasing a version of the Blaster Internet worm that attacked Microsoft’s Web site in the summer of 2003.

Instead, the company said in court documents filed late Tuesday, he can work it off: 225 hours of community service that won’t involve computers.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman still must sign the agreement.

Pechman sentenced Parson in January to a year and a half in prison – half the time prosecutors had asked for – followed by 100 hours of community service and three years of supervised release.

The judge blamed his parents for not taking more of an interest in his life.

The parties earlier stipulated that the restitution owed was $500,000.

Parson apologized to the court and to Microsoft at his sentencing.

Versions of the Blaster worm, also known as the LovSan virus, crippled computer networks worldwide.

Parson pleaded guilty last summer to one count of intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a protected computer for modifying the Blaster worm and using it to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack against a Microsoft Windows update Web site as well as personal computers.

Parson’s version crippled an estimated 48,000 computers.

Parson is to work off his debt to Microsoft during his three years of supervised release – 75 hours a year.

The service is not to involve computers or the Internet, and is to benefit less fortunate members of his community, the agreement said.

“We’re pleased this prosecution has been fully resolved with a prison sentence and appropriate restitution,” said Tim Cranton, senior attorney with the Internet Safety Enforcement group at Microsoft.

“Mr. Parson’s additional community service will have a stronger impact on him in serving his sentence.”

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