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3. Computer crime

3.1. USA- Melissa virus suspect makes first appearance in New Jersey court

On 8 April 1999, David Smith, the man accused of creating and disseminating the Melissa virus over the Internet, made his first appearance in a New Jersey Court. Identified on 26 March, this very aggressive self-replicating virus spread rapidly across the Internet by exploiting e-mail software to send a list of porn sites. Melissa seemed to have been put on the Internet by the owner of an America Online account. The virus combined Microsoft's Outlook and Word programmes and disrupted computer networks in thousands of companies and government agencies by overloading their systems. Giving the impression of originating from a person known to the individuals concerned, it had the ability to infect not only the originally affected documents but also future documents. Melissa was finally traced to New Jersey, where law enforcement officials made contact with Smith and arrested him. A grand jury in Trenton will consider whether to indict him and bring hi m to a jury trial on charges of disrupting public communication, conspiracy and attempting to commit an offence, theft of computer service, and wrongful access to computer systems. Since his arrest Smith has said he will plead not guilty to all charges.

More details available at,4,34855,00.html

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