Melissa Suspect Nabbed in New Jersey

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A New Jersey man has been arrested and charged with creating the Melissa e-mail virus, according to the office of the New Jersey State Attorney General. Associated Press is reporting that David L. Smith, 30, of Aberdeen, was arrested Thursday night at his brother's house in nearby Eatontown, according to Rita Malley, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter Verniero. The AP report also quotes Malley describing Smith as a "computer guy" who "originated [Melissa] at his apartment in Aberdeen, New Jersey." Smith is being held at the Monmouth County Jail. Technicians from America Online were apparently involved in the state and federal manhunt, helping trace an AOL account that had been hijacked. Also key was a controversial serial number encoded surreptitiously by some Microsoft programs.

Facilitating this high-tech sleuthing, Smith is also supposed to have left his name in the source code of a file available on the Source of Kaos web site that was seized this week in Orlando, Florida. Smith's name appeared three separate times in the revision logs of files found in virus toolkits: As David L. Smith, DLS and DA Smith. TIME Digital has learned that the FBI is keeping the investigation open on the possibility that it was a two-man operation. Smith is said to be VicodinES; a suspected accomplice, Alt-F11, has yet to be identified.

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