How-To Geek

July 26, 1989: Creator of First Internet Worm Sentenced [Geek History]

This day in Geek History the creator of the first internet worm was the first person sentenced under the Computer Fraud Act.

In November of 1988 Robert Tappan Morris, a Cornell University graduate student, paid a visit to MIT in order to release an internet worm. His original intention was for the program to replicate itself across the internet, counting all the machines in the process. The execution was flawed, however, and the worm replicated itself so many times and across so many computers and connection that it had already visited that it caused networks and computers to crash.

July 26, 1989 he was sentenced to three years probation, 400 hours of community service, and fined $10,000. In an interesting twist, Morris went on to become an accomplished professor at MIT.

Morris Worm [Wikipedia via Wired]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/26/11

Comments (3)

  1. Ubudog

    Wow… amazing.

  2. Troik

    why is that a twist? It simply means, punishment is working :-)

  3. Rick S

    That’s one way to get a job.
    He proved he knew computers. And most likely nobody wanted to really p*ss him off.
    Payback could be a real can of worms. lol.

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