On this day, July 26, in 1988, Robert T. Morris, the son of a former chief scientist of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, became the first person charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for creating a worm virus.
Morris was a student at Cornell University when he created the "Morris Worm." The bug was designed to count the number of computers connected to the Internet, but a flaw caused it to replicate rapidly, spreading to thousands of computers and causing more than $500,000 in damage.
Morris was sentenced to three years probation and 400 hours of community service. In 1995 he sold a software company to Yahoo for $48 million. He is now a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
-- Scott McCabe