Kournikova virus maker appeals sentence

Jan de Wit, the 21-year-old Dutchman who was sentenced last September to 150 hours of community service for creating and sending out the Anna Kournikova e-mail worm, is appealing the verdict, his lawyer said Friday.

"My client does not agree with the conviction. We believe that he should be found not guilty," said Theo Jansen, De Wit's lawyer in Sneek, the Netherlands. "You could say that my client was clueless. But he disputes that his intent was to do damage and it has not been proven that great damage was done."

No date has been set for the appeal, but Jansen expects the court will wait until after the Dutch summer vacation, which ends in September. Last year's verdict was the first handed down against a virus writer in the Netherlands and one of the few such verdicts in the world.

De Wit was charged with spreading data via a computer network with the intent to cause damage, a crime punishable by four years in prison and a maximum fine of about €45,000 (US$40,000).The prosecutor asked the court for 240 hours of community service.

De Wit used a worm-making toolkit to create a worm that, under the guise of an e-mail image of Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova, spread like wildfire for two days in February 2001. At the trial, De Wit stated that he did not know what he was doing or what the consequences of posting the virus in an Internet newsgroup could be.

The judges did not believe him because De Wit had an impressive collection of about 7,200 computer viruses and worked in a computer store. Damage done by the Kournikova worm was limited, but could have been significant. The exponential spreading could have paralyzed the Internet and De Wit knew that, the court said.

News of the appeal comes shortly after the writer of the Melissa virus, David Smith, was sentenced to 20 months in prison in the U.S. The Melissa virus spread in 1999 and is said to have caused more than $80 million in damage.

Maarten Reijnders, a reporter with WebWereld Netherlands, contributed to this story.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

PC World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?