Who's Responsible? Virus Authors
The authors of viruses and worms should most certainly be held
responsible for their misdeeds. Often, the authors harbor
malicious motives, either to hack into individual computers to gather
private personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords, or
to launch large-scale attacks on large software companies and Internet
Service Providers such as Microsoft and Yahoo!
According to a CNN
Report, the typical virus writer is male, obsessed with computers,
lacking a girlfriend, and aged 14 to 34. In the report, Jan Hruska, the
CEO of Sophos PLC, the world's fourth-largest anti-virus solutions
provider, remarked that "[virus writers] are usually socially inadequate
and are drawn compulsively to write self-replicating codes. It's a form of
digital graffiti to them."
The author of
the MS Blaster worm that wrecked havoc on Stanford last
year fits the above description perfectly. Jeffrey Lee Parson (left), an
18-year-old high school student, is the
author of variant 'B' of the Blaster worm and has since been charged with
intentionally damaging a proctected computer.
One problem faced by law enforcement agencies is that virus authors are
often hard to track, either because they are based overseas, or because
they covered their tracks very well. For example, the original writer of
the Blaster worm has yet to be tracked down. If the writer is tracked
down, however, he/she should definitely be punished to deter others
with similar malicious intents.