Friday, March 9, 2012

#Virus brings down US computer network (video)

It's okay you can relax, this happened in 1988. A friend unearthed this classic TV news story on YouTube and it's really worth a look for the lovely way the TV treats the story complete with clips from old computer games and scary movies.
   I assume from the date they are referring to the Morris worm which was released by Cornell grad student, Robert Morris, in November 1988. He claimed he simply wanted to estimate the number of nodes on the ARPANET, which was the worm's intended function. However, the fact that he released the worm on MIT's network to hide its origins rather contradicts his claims. He was caught and prosecuted under the then brand new US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He was sentenced to three years probation, 400 hours of community service, and fined $10,000.
   All of this, and more, features in Chapter 12 Digital Underworld of The Universal Machine.