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Microsoft drops MSBlast writer's $500,000 penalty

Jeffrey Lee Parson, teen convicted of writing variant of MSBlast worm, won't have to pay restitution to Microsoft.

Jeffrey Lee Parson, the teen convicted of writing a variant of the MSBlast worm, won't have to pay $500,000 in restitution.

The damages were to be paid to Microsoft for the teen's actions, which piggybacked on a worm that temporarily downed the software giant's Web site in 2003. The tech behemoth has asked that the 19-year-old's punishment be converted from the fine to 225 hours of community service.

The community service must not involve the Internet or computers.

Parson was sentenced earlier this year after pleading guilty to creating the worm variant, which was thought to have infected about 50,000 computers. That was a hiccup compared with the original MSBlast, also known as Blaster, which is estimated to have infected at least 9.5 million computers.

A judge sentenced Parson in January to 18 months in prison, followed by 100 hours of community service and three years of supervised release. The parties had earlier stipulated the $500,000 in restitution.

Jo Best of reported from London.