"It would definitely be much harder to do," Maiffret says. "A lot of the previous worms were propagated by targeted, server-side vulnerabilities, and most modern types are targeting client-side applications software."
And with the disappearing network perimeter, it would be more difficult to spread from organization to organization, he says.
Spaf says another big Internet worm like Morris' would be difficult to pull off. "I won't say it is impossible, but I think it is unlikely. We have too many systems with dissimilar rules, software, and network filters," Spaf says. "If something did occur, it would be more like the Slammer worm in behavior."
So what ever happened to Morris? At the time, he was found guilty of violating the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and sentenced to three years' probation, 400 hours of community service, and more than $10,000 in fines. He is currently a member of the faculty at MIT's computer science department -- the very university where he first unleashed the worm in 1988.
Spaf says Morris indeed paid his dues and made amends for the 1988 worm. "He has not used [the worm] for any personal gain, he has not bragged about it, written about it, nor advertised it to the security business. He instead went on to found a company and get his Ph.D., and he's a valued member of the academic community now," Spaf says.
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