22 January 2003 A 22-year-old DJ and web designer has been sentenced to two years in prison for writing a series of damaging computer viruses. Simon Vallor of Llandudno, north Wales had pleaded guilty to writing the Gokar, Admirer and Redesi mass-mailer viruses.
In court, Vallor had claimed that his self-replicating viruses were harmless. But Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at anti-virus software vendor Sophos, said that this was not true. Vallor’s Redesi worm, for example, attempted to delete data from infected users’ hard drives, he said.
Vallor’s viruses infected 27,000 PCs in 42 countries, according to anti-virus software vendor Sophos. But such an infection rate is insignificant compared to viruses such as Klez – the most infectious virus of 2002, accounting for a quarter of all virus infections – and Melissa.
Vallor may feel hard done by. The Dutch author of the prolific Anna Kournikova virus was sentenced to just 150 hours of community service, despite the fact that his virus infected tens of millions of PCs worldwide compared to Vallor’s 27,000.
Sentencing, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin told Vallor: “Virus writers are not so-called computer buffs or nerds, they happen to be criminals… Their viruses cause destruction, disruption, consternation and even economic loss on a grand scale.”