students jailed briefly, on virus, Trojan horse charges.
Henry Norr. MacWEEK. March
N.Y. -- It wasn't exactly death row, and it lasted only overnight,
but two college students found themselves in Tompkins County
Jail here last week, charged with unleashing the latest Mac
S. Blumenthal and Mark A. Pilgrim, both 19, were arrested
on misdemeanor computer-tampering charges related to the release
of the MBDF A virus and the Trojan horse program that carried
it. Both are sophomores at Cornell University and employees
of its information technologies department.
posting a cash bond of $2,000, the two were released and returned
to campus. New York state authorities last week were continuing
to investigate the case, and "additional charges are expected
to be filed," according to a statement issued by the university.
authorities, however, have decided not to press charges, according
to M. Stuart Lynn, Cornell's vice president for information
infection, an "implied loader" virus like WDEF, was carried
by Tetricycle, Obnoxious Tetris and Ten Tile Puzzle, a trio
of games posted Feb. 14 on several on-line software archives
in the United States and abroad. Tetricycle, which had a Death
Row Software copyright, was a Trojan horse carrying the virus
in encrypted form; the other two games were simply infected.
an infected program is run, MBDF A spreads to the user's System
file and applications. It does not directly destroy data but
reportedly can cause a variety of problems, including long
delays; users who reboot in frustration could find their systems
virus was uncovered when a mathematics professor in Wales
who had downloaded the games found that his Claris Corp. applications
reported that they had been altered. Claris programs include
self-check code designed to alert users in case of infection.
user reported the problem to John Norstad, author of the freeware
Disinfectant program, who in turn alerted other anti-virus
developers. Investigation quickly led to the infected games
and eventually to Cornell, Blumenthal and Pilgrim. . .
© 1992 Coastal Associates Publishing L.P.