Users applaud Blaster suspect arrest in US

Australian IT managers hit by the W.32.Blaster-B Worm said this week they would love to get their hands on the US teenager who has been arrested for unleashing the virus.

The 18-year-old known online as "teekid" is described in the complaint as a "6 foot 4 inch, 320-pound (1.8m, 145kg) white male" and is set to appear in a Washington court on September 17.

Jeffrey Lee Parson has been charged with one count of intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a protected computer and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Some of Australia's largest organisations were crippled by the worm that caused havoc for Microsoft which was the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that was programmed into the worm's code.

One of the worm's victims, Gordon Kenyon, development manager of Gold Coast-based prepaid communications provider CardCall which experienced a three-hour outage, described the arrest as good news because it will serve as a warning to others.

He said suitable punishment for the alleged offender is at least five years jail with no early release to ensure the sentence acted as a deterrent.

If Kenyon could spend five minutes with Parson he would sit him down with his victims so they could explain how they were adversely affected by "his stupidity".

Symantec Asia Pacific managing director John Donovan said the arrest sends a clear message to the hacking community.

"If it does turn out to be Parson that wrote the virus, then there are appropriate measures in place to deal with him. In Australia, the penalty for such a crime is about 10 years jail, which might seem extreme, but millions of systems worldwide were affected, causing frustration and downtime," he said.

Donovan said Symantec is still experiencing a 120 per cent increase in calls from affected users to the local support centre.

The worm exploits the so-called remote procedure call (RPC) vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows XP, 2000 and NT operating systems. The worm, dubbed MSBlast, uses scanning on port 135 to spread.

It's code contains the message "Billy Gates, why do you make this possible? Fix your software!"

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