Internet Worm Disrupts Systems Worldwide - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/12/03

Internet Worm Disrupts Systems Worldwide

NOTE: The following versions of Windows are affected: Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0, Microsoft Windows® 2000, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003. The "Microsoft Blaster information" link to the left takes you to a page to download a Windows patch that willinoculate your PC against future infection. If you're already infected, you'll also need to follow the disinfection instructions from one of the three other companies linked.

Microsoft's popular Windows operating systems run the majority of computers in the world, and unfortunately, many of them have been falling prey to a virus some are calling Blaster, or LovSan. On July 16, Microsoft issued a warning about a vulnerability in Windows, advising users to install a free fix before hackers created problems. On Monday, the first reports of a worm--a self-replicating virus--that exploits the vulnerability showed up. By Tuesday morning, tens of thousands of machines worldwide were reported infected.

Jimmy Edwards, Executive VP at Savannah's Premier Systems & Training told us, "In the case of the Blaster worm, it's using the network itself, so you won't see any evidence of an email coming through, really any evidence whatsoever that the worm's on your machine except when your machine begins to reboot or stop working."

And when such worms get through to businesses, the disruption can be costly. "The damage to the real world is that when this hits a business, the economic impact is pretty significant," said Edwards. "Especially if your business depends on computers, which most do nowadays."

Edwards says this virus, which carries a message buried in its programming, is targeting one company in particular. The message reads: "Just wanted to say LOVE YOU SAN!! billy gates why do you make this possible ? Stop making money and fix your software!!"

"It's definitely not a mistake, not an accident," said Edwards. "Obviously, based on the message that's imbedded within this virus, it's definitely someone who has something against Bill Gates and Microsoft."

While Blaster doesn't seem to delete files or otherwise damage infected systems, it's designed to use your system to help overload Microsoft's own web servers, so no one can access them to install the company's vulnerability fix.

Blaster has been reported across the US, Europe and Asia. As a matter of fact, all the crashes have caused the Maryland State Motor Vehicle Administration to shut down today. They hope to be up again tomorrow. For much more information on Blaster and how you can help protect (and disinfect) your machine, visit the links toward the top of the left-hand column on this page.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com

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