Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009

Doing the Worm

On Nov. 2, 1988, Robert Morris, a Cornell computer-science graduate student, wrote an experimental program that he injected into the Internet. It became the computer world's first "worm." Although the student's intentions were not necessarily nefarious — he was testing how large the Internet actually was — the worm wreaked havoc online, rendering about 600,000 computers unusable. Morris was convicted of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and sentenced to three years of probation, 400 hours of community service and $10,000 fine. He now works for MIT.