Morris claimed that the worm that brought the Internet to its knees was a benign experiment that got out of control as the result of a coding error. After the storm of negative publicity that followed this blunder, Morris's username on ITS was hacked from RTM to RTFM.
A federal grand jury indicted then Cornell University student Morris on July 26, 1989 for releasing the worm. He thus became the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He was convicted of this crime on January 22, 1990.