FBI Nets Teen Accused Of Writing Blaster Variant

Jeffrey Lee Parson will be charged with modifying the original Blaster worm and re-releasing it.
The FBI arrested a teen-ager Friday suspected of writing a variant of the original Blaster worm. The 18-year-old, identified as Jeffrey Lee Parson by a court official in Minnesota, was arrested early Friday.

A U.S. official in Washington confirmed an arrest was made early Friday, The Associated Press reported. Court papers said FBI and Secret Service agents searched Parson's home on Aug. 19 and seized seven computers, which are still being analyzed. In an interview with FBI Special Agent Eric Smithmier, Parson admitted modifying the original "Blaster" infection and creating a version known by a variety of different names, including "Blaster.B.," court papers said.

Parson is scheduled to make his first court appearance later Friday in St. Paul, Minn. The FBI will hold a news conference Friday in its Seattle office to announce further details of the arrest and charges.

The teen, a resident of Hopkins, Minn., a suburb just west of Minneapolis-St. Paul, goes by the online handle of 'Teekid.' Parson will be charged with modifying the original Blaster worm and re-releasing it. This variant, the second in a series based on Blaster, goes by the name W32.Blaster.B, and was first detected on Aug. 13, two days after the original appeared.

A hacker using the same "teekid" moniker was responsible last year for defacing a Web site belonging to the Minnesota Government Finance Officers Association, said Tom Kelly, the group's president.

"All he did was replace the front page of our Web site with a page that read: 'Hacked By Teekid,'" Kelly said. A week later, after the association's site had been repaired, it was defaced again, this time with a page that stated: 'Still Hacked By Teekid.'"

The organization traced the attack to Hopkins, Minn., said Kelly, and turned the information over to the Hopkins Police Department. "They talked to some kid," said Kelly, although he wasn't provided a name by local law enforcement. The defacements then stopped.

The Hopkins Police Department was unavailable for comment.

W32.Blaster.B shared the same destructive characteristics as its parent, attacking PCs that had not been patched against a vulnerability in the Windows operating system. The worm, which infected more than 500,000 systems worldwide, caused some computers to constantly reboot, tied up network and Internet traffic, and forced Microsoft to take the unusual step of taking offline one of the addresses used to connect with its WindowsUpdate service.

The U.S. attorney in Seattle is heading the case, said The Seattle Times, because the worm targeted operating systems software made by nearby Microsoft. Officials at the FBI's Seattle office were not available for comment Friday morning.

The news comes hard on the heals of claims by FBI director Robert Mueller that his agency was "confident" it would find and prosecute the makers of the Blaster worm and the Sobig.F virus.

The FBI, and other law enforcement agencies, are still looking for the creator of the original Blaster worm.