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Robert Morris, aka "rtm", is one of the most notorious hackers/crackers (there is still debate as to which school he belonged to) of all time, his crowning achievement coming in 1988 when he accidentally unleashed a worm, crashing over 6000 computers by exploiting known security vulnerabilities. (sound familiar?)

He had a strong backgound in computers, his father being chief scientest at the National Computer Security Center, a division of the NSA.

He created his worm to prove to his fellow classmates at Cornell University that he could compromise the college's network security in four different ways. It was never his intention to crash thousands of computers by spreading the worm externally from the college, but shortly after the release date, 2nd November 1988, this is exactly what happened. By the time the problem was fixed, thousands of computers were affected and Morris found himself in a lot of trouble, facing 400 hours of community service, 3 years probation and a $10050 fine under law 18 USC 1030 (A)(5)(a), the Computer Crime and Abuse Act of 1986.

His case was appealed but the conviction was upheld.

Afterwards, it is rumored that Morris was working as a legitimatesoftware engineer for CenterLine software. He was not working in the field of computer security.

What is also known is that in 1994 Robert had been working on his Ph.D. under the direction of H.T. Kung at Harvard University.

He tends to distance himself from the events of 1988 and has never attempted to work in the computer security industry since. Some people still feel that Morris' exploits were never intended to be malicious and that he was a victim of circumstance and made a scapegoat by the government.

He has been forgiven by the internet community though. A start-up he founded, Viaweb, was recently purchased by Yahoo! for the sum of $49m.

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