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.
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 Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 07/26/11