David Smith, Kwyjibo, VicodinES, Alt-F11

IRL Name: 
David L. Smith

David L. Smith (born c.1968) is the writer of the Melissa worm. In March 1999, the then 31-year-old programmer released the Melissa worm in Aberdeen Township, New Jersey by deliberately posting an infected document to an alt.sex Usenet newsgroup from a stolen AOL account. It is believed that Smith named the virus after a lap-dancer he had known in Florida. He called himself Kwyjibo, but was shown to be identical to macrovirus writers VicodinES and Alt-F11, who had several Word-files with the same characteristic Globally Unique Identifier (GUID), a serial number that was earlier generated with the network card MAC address as a component. The virus forwards itself to the first 50 addresses in a person’s Outlook address book. It is also known to damage documents by putting in the text, “twenty-two, plus triple-word score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game’s over. I’m outta here”, a reference to The Simpsons episode Bart the Genius, from where the name 'kwyjibo' also originates.

Companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Lockheed Martin, and Lucent Technologies were forced to shut down their e-mail gateways due to the vast amount of e-mail the virus was generating. The Melissa virus was the most costly computer outbreak to date, causing more than $80 million in damages to North American businesses. In December of the same year, Smith pleaded guilty to creating and releasing the virus. He was one of the first people to ever be prosecuted for writing a virus. The sentence, originally ten years (of a maximum forty year sentence) in a United States federal prison, was reduced to twenty months and a $5,000 fine when Smith began working undercover with the FBI shortly after his capture. Initially only working eighteen hours per week, Smith was soon bumped up to a forty hour work week. He was tasked with gaining connections among authors of new viruses, keeping an ear to the ground for software vulnerabilities, mitigating damage caused by these nefarious activities, and contributing to the capture of the perpetrators.

The task of tracing the worm to its originator was accomplished through the efforts of security analyst Jonathan James, who collaborated with the FBI on the case and who also traced the authors of the ILOVEYOU worm. Fredrik Björck also contributed to the identification of a website owned by VicodinES, later identified as David L. Smith.


One of the few virus writers actually convicted


Didn't have enough money to get Melissa to suck his cock, so he named a virus after her