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Teen Blaster Worm menace escapes fine but faces jail

Jeffrey Lee Parson, the teen convicted of infecting 48,000 computers with a variant of the destructive Blaster worm, will not have to pay $500,000 in restitution to Microsoft, the world's largest software maker said yesterday.

Instead, the Minnesota teen will have to perform 225 hours of community service in addition to a year and half in prison and an earlier order to perform 100 hours of community service, once the final sentence is signed by Judge Marsha Pechman of the U.S. District Court in Seattle. He also will be placed under supervision for three years following the sentence.

Microsoft, which released Parson from his financial obligation in a legal agreement signed by both parties earlier this week, said it was satisfied with the final sentence.

"Mr. Parson's additional community service will have a stronger impact on him in serving his sentence," Tim Cranton, senior attorney at Microsoft, said in an emailed statement.

Parson pleaded guilty last year to creating a variant of the worm, which infected computers in mid-2003 and targeted computers at Microsoft. Parson said he created his "B" or "teekids" variant of the Blaster worm and used it to access 50 computers which he then used to launch a broader attack on more than 48,000 computers.

Blaster and its variants are self-replicating Internet worms that bore through a security hole in Windows, Microsoft's operating system which is found on more than 90 percent of the world's personal computers.

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