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Parents Back Teen in Internet Virus Case

Jeffrey Lee Parson, who is accused of distributing a modified version of the 'Blaster' worm, is described as a 'good kid.'

September 03, 2003|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The parents of a high school senior charged with distributing a version of the Internet worm that crippled computer networks worldwide said their son was a "good kid" who had never been in trouble with the law.

Bob and Rita Parson spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show. They said they were still shocked about the federal charge, and had had no idea their 18-year-old son, Jeffrey Lee Parson, had anything to do with the attack. He is the first person charged in connection with the computer attacks.

Parson faces one count of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer. A conviction could bring up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Authorities say he admitted during an interview with FBI and Secret Service agents that he modified the original "Blaster" infection that made computers attack the Microsoft Corp. Web site last month.

Prosecutors said that although the high school senior isn't accused of creating the Blaster worm, Parson did allegedly create a version called "B Variant," which affected at least 7,000 computers.

The Parsons said their son was not a computer whiz, and spoke of him as an ordinary teenager.

"My son is not brilliant; he's not [a] genius," Rita Parson said. "Anyone that has any computer knowledge could have done what Jeff did. It doesn't take a level of genius to do this."

The Parsons said they did not yet have a lawyer because they couldn't afford one. They said a local attorney had been appointed for their son, but would not represent him when he goes to court Sept. 17 in Seattle.

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