Wide support for spyware teacher

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 16, 2007

Malware infestation alleged at root of porn conviction.

A Connecticut teacher, recently convicted of morals offences after her laptop displayed a range of pornographic sites to a classroom of children, has been backed by several malware experts.

The 40-year-old Julie Amero was found guilty by a court in Norwich, Connecticut, after an incident in 2004 when Ms Amero was a substitute teacher in a seventh-grade class. She, along with a computer specialist who analysed her computer, claimed that a spyware infection led to the uncontrollable flow of pornographic material. After a brief trial, shaken by allegations of inappropriate behaviour by both judge and jury and hinging on a highly ill-informed statement from the prosecutor, Ms Amero was convicted, and at her sentencing in March faces a possible 40 years imprisonment.

An early report on the case appeared on the local Norwich Bulletin website, here. Since then, several experts in the field have added their opinions on the plausibility of Ms Amero's claims. Spyware company Sunbelt were among the first, posting a supportive entry on the forum accompanying the Norwich Bulletin article, and adding a blog entry on the subject.

The Norwich Bulletin forum has been bombarded with comments, ranging from further supportive data on spyware to a debate on modern American culture and society. The Sunbelt president Alex Huckleberry, who posted the original blog entry, has since responded vehemently to claims, such as that made by a ComputerWorld blogger, that the conviction was justified, and has offered the services of his company's spyware experts to Ms Amero for her appeal.

Other security watchers taking an interest in the case include researchers at McAfee's Avert Labs, who have posted commentary here. A more questioning viewpoint is presented by Mary Landesman of About.com, here.

Posted on 16 January 2007 by Virus Bulletin




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