When the fame of Anna Kournikova splashed a young hacker | Digital Trends Spanish


It was 2001 and the then Russian tennis player and model Anna Kournikova was at the peak of her popularity. That year his path crossed with that of the Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias, another magnet of fame, with whom he became a couple. Their romance only catapulted the popularity of both stars. Then a hacker 20 years old, the same age as the athlete, saw in her the perfect opportunity to distribute a computer virus on February 12.

It was malware that, like other viruses distributed by email, sent itself to various contacts. The virus arrived as a message that promised a photo of the famous tennis player, accompanied by a short text in the subject field that said “here you have ” or “here you go.” The archive, which today would be judged clumsily camouflaged, came named as AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs.

The malicious program was soon distributed to thousands of computers in various parts of the world. David L. Smith, author of the Melissa virus and who in serving his sentence helped the FBI to unravel computer crimes, facilitated the identification of the hacker, identified as Jan de Wit, a Dutchman who used the pseudonym On the Fly.

The boy was arrested by Dutch police on February 14, 2001, just two days after distributing the virus. He then confessed that he had created it out of curiosity with an online tool published by another hacker of Argentine nationality.

Prior to his arrest, de Wit confessed to his crime on several fan portals of tennis player Anna Kournikova. He pointed out that he distributed the virus to test whether Internet-based service provider companies, such as Microsoft – its Outlook email service was one of the most used – had improved their cybersecurity tools, after the appearance of other viruses distributed by it. via. His wrongdoing proved that it was not so.

The Dutch prosecution requested a sentence of four years in prison and the payment of a fine equivalent to $ 40,000. The defense asked to dismiss the charges, alleging that the Anna Kournikova virus did not cause significant damage (it barely saturated email servers); in the end, the prosecution acquiesced and de Wit was sentenced to 150 hours of community service.

At the end of his sentence, the mayor of the town of Sneek, whence he hacker He was a native, he offered him a job in the IT department. The fame of Anna Kournikova accidentally splashed the young Dutchman.

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