Jeffrey Parson, the teenager who unleashed the devastating “Blaster” worm was sentenced to 18 months in prison this week. The sentence is the shortest one possible under his plea agreement.
The jury, and the judge, apparently took pity on Parson who is said to have been suffering from a debilitating mental illness.
Federal prosecutors were gunning for the maximum 37 month sentence.
The Blaster virus, and more than 2 dozen variants, were unleashed on the Internet in 2003. At its peak, it had infected more than 50,000 computers.
Parson qualified for the plea agreement by virtue of having readily admitted to causing serious damage to “a protected computer”.
Parson´s attorney, Nancy Tenney, said her client wanted to warn other young people about the folly of his actions. So he created a video with Seattle Public Schools in which he talks about “how wrong it is,” Tenney said.
“I know I´ve made a huge mistake, and I´ve hurt a lot of people, and I feel terrible,” Parson said, adding an apology to Microsoft.
The judge has allowed Parson to return home to Minnesota until the Bureau of Prisons is ready for him. Parson is obviously elated with the sentencing. “I feel that the judge understood me. I hope young people can learn from my mistakes, and I am really sorry to anyone who got hurt in any way by what I did.”