[ISN] Man arrested for Melissa virus

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Apr 02 1999 - 09:08:19 PST

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    Man arrested for Melissa virus
    Associated Press
    April 2, 1999 7:57 AM PT
    URL: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2236028,00.html
    UPDATED 8:30 AM PT
    TRENTON, N.J. (AP)-- A man has been arrested and charged with originating
    the e-mail virus known as Melissa, the state attorney general's office
    announced today. 
    David L. Smith, 30, of Aberdeen was arrested Thursday night at his
    brother's house in nearby Eatontown, said Rita Malley, a spokeswoman for
    Attorney General Peter Verniero. 
    Smith originated the virus, which caused worldwide e-mail disruption
    earlier this week, from his apartment in Aberdeen, Malley said. 
    New Jersey Attorney General Peter Verniero will hold a press conference in
    Trenton at 10 AM PT to discuss the arrest. 
    Melissa appeared last Friday and spread rapidly around the world on Monday
    like a malicious chain letter, causing affected computers to fire off
    dozens of infected messages to friends and colleagues and swamping e-mail
    It disrupted the operations of thousands of companies and government
    agencies whose employees were temporarily unable to communicate by e-mail. 
    No information was immediately available as to what charges Smith faced. 
    Michael Vatis, a federal prosecutor and director of the National
    Infrastructure Protection Center based at FBI headquarters, had said
    earlier this week that the author of a virus can be charged with a felony
    computer crime carrying a term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to
    AOL helped 
    Smith was snared with the help of America Online technicians, and a
    computer task force composed of federal and state agents, Malley said.
    Earlier this week, experts had said there were clues that the virus writer
    had distributed the virus using an account stolen from America Online 15
    months ago.
    Several antivirus software makers, including McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro
    and Sophos, posted patches on their Web sites that detect and reject the
    Melissa virus.
    It comes in the form of an e-mail, usually containing the subject line
    ``Important Message.'' It appears to be from a friend or colleague.
    Smiley face 
    The body of the e-mail message says, ``Here is that document you asked for
    ... don't show it to anyone else'' with a winking smiley face formed by
    the punctuation marks ;-).
    Attached to the message is a document file. If the user opened that file,
    the virus dug into the user's address book and sends infected documents to
    the first 50 addresses. 
    Smith, whom Malley described as a ``computer guy,'' was being held at the
    Monmouth County Jail.  Malley could not immediately say where Smith works,
    but said the virus didn't originate there but in his apartment. 
    Margaret Kane, ZDNN, contributed to this report. 
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