Don't turn that cheek to hackers--be unchic

Tuesday, 9 September 2003, 2:56 PM EST

So what do we do with Jeffrey Parson, the 18-year-old whose Blaster variant attacked 7,000 computers last month? Technically, he faces one count of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer. And if that charge sticks, he could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Is that what's deserved by Parson and other loathsome bastards--also known by the inappropriately benign designation of hacker--like him who use their technical skills to attack and damage computers and the organizations those computers support? While we're at it, let's put this in perspective: Parson's malicious actions affected about 7,000 computers, while the original Blaster and all its variants wreaked havoc on about 500,000. So is it all a matter of degree? That is, if we catch the miscreants who created the original Blaster, should their punishment be 70 times as severe as Parson's?

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