Suspected Kournikova virus writer to face charges

HAARLEM, NETHERLANDS -- The 20-year-old man who identified himself as being responsible for the Anna Kournikova virus will be prosecuted for spreading information via a computer network with the intention to create damage, Dutch authorities said today.

The self-proclaimed virus author, whose hometown is Sneek, Netherlands, is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 12. Although it's uncertain what kind of penalty the prosecutor will seek, it's not expected to be more than six months in prison.

The suspect, who used the nickname OnTheFly, said he created the virus in February with a so-called worm creator. For two days, the virus spread rapidly across the Internet and infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, according to antivirus software vendors (see story)

After realizing the scope of the damage he had done, the suspect decided to turn himself in to police (see story).

It will be the first time that a Dutch virus writer will be prosecuted for unleashing a virus on the Internet. According to Andre Post, an antivirus specialist at Symantec Antivirus Research Center, the prosecution of virus writers is rare. He said he knows of only three convicted virus writers worldwide: two in the U.S. and one in the U.K.

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