'Blaster' Teen Suspect Arrested

UPDATE: The FBI has arrested Minnesota teenager Jeffrey Lee Parson on suspicion he created a destructive variant of the 'Blaster' worm.

The FBI, acting with other federal law enforcement agencies, arrested a Minnesota teenager on Friday and charged him with writing a variant of the destructive MSBlaster worm.

The 18-year-old, identified as Jeffrey Lee Parson, was taken into custody on Friday morning, FBI and members of the U.S. Attorneys office said at a press conference Friday. He has made a court appearance in St. Paul, Minn., and is now under house arrest, which includes no access to the Internet, officials said at a press conference in Seattle Friday.

A female voice answering the phone at Parson's home in Hopkins, Minnesota, declined comment. Parson faces a court date in Seattle on Sept. 17th, said John McKay, U.S. Attorney for the Western district of Washington state. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle is heading the case because the worm targeted Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft's flagship Windows operating system.

Officials believe Parson, known online as "teekid," created the "TEEKID.EXE" file that contained the W32.Blaster.C.Worm variant. The FBI said as a result of Parson's actions the Blaster worm that he allegedly copied and released on the Internet eventually infected at least 7,000 computers. Those infected machines, in turn, were deployed in attacks on other computers.

The original 'Blaster' worm, which started crawling through corporate networks earlier this month, was also programmed to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack on Microsoft's WindowsUpdate.com site, forcing the software giant to disable the site and direct users looking for security updates to another section of its site (www.microsoft.com/security).

The teenager allegedly added code to the original 'Blaster' worm to create a more destructive variant, officials said. At their Friday press conference FBI and other federal agents said they are still pursuing the creator of the original worm and that the investigation is ongoing.

The W32.Blaster.C.Worm variant allegedly let loose by the suspect appeared two days after the original worm, taking advantage of a well-known vulnerability in the Windows DCOM/RPC interface.

The charge agains Parson includes intentionally damaging computers; if convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

"With this arrest, we want to deliver a message to cyberhackers here and around the world that the U.S. Attorney General takes these crimes very seriously and will devote all available resources to arresting and prosecuting cyberhackers."

In a statement Friday, Microsoft thanked the FBI, Secret Service and US Attorney's office for their work on the case.

"This arrest also serves as a reminder that it is a crime to distribute such viruses with the intent to cause damage," the statement said.

"We are committed now more than ever to building more secure software that is resilient to attack while preserving the rich computing experience that our customers expect."

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