updated 8/11/2004 5:37:46 PM ET 2004-08-11T21:37:46

A Minnesota high school senior pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to unleashing a variant of the “Blaster” Internet worm that crippled thousands of computers last summer.

Jeffrey Parson, 19, of Hopkins, Minn., pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a protected computer. He had earlier pleaded not guilty.

Different versions of the Blaster worm, also known as the LovSan virus, crippled computer networks worldwide last summer.

The worm attacked a Microsoft Windows update Web site. Parson was charged here last August because Microsoft is based in suburban Redmond.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

Federal prosecutors have recommended an 18- to 37-month sentence. Parson had faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutor Annette Hayes said Parson could also be asked to pay millions of dollars in restitution.

Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 2 before U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman.

Last fall, authorities said Parson admitted during an interview with FBI and Secret Service agents that he modified the original “Blaster” worm that made computers attack the Microsoft Web site in the summer of 2003.

Parson has been out of jail on a $25,000 pretrial bond with electronic home monitoring.

On Wednesday, Pechman ordered him taken off electronic home monitoring pending sentencing. He cannot leave his home except to go to work, or if supervised and preapproved by the court.

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