Nasty worm gives state computers indigestion
I almost missed this article from March of this year. It seems the Washington State Taxation office suffered a downtime period of about 2 1/2 days due to a worm being lose on their network. What's not clear from this article is if this worm was specifically targeting the state's computer systems or was a generic worm which simply caused problems.
The FBI and the Washington State Patrol are investigating the source of an Internet worm that crippled the state Department of Revenues computer network this week and double-billed 1,400 businesses for tax payments.
The worm, a variant of a computer program that infected state government networks a few months ago, most likely entered the system over the weekend, according to Ralph Osgood, the Revenue Departments deputy director.
As employees logged onto their computers Monday morning, Osgood said it multiplied very rapidly and took the system down.
Source: Nasty worm gives state computers indigestion, Kenneth P. Vogel, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington), March 24th, 2005. Found via Security Manifest, a weblog from Benjamin Johnstone-Anderson, Microsoft MVP, Windows Security.
This sort of thing happens more often than you'd think. I have it on reasonably good authority that a particular RBOC was paralyzed for several days by the SQL Slammer worm in the spring of 2003 (well after it went away in the rest of the world). Nevertheless, this same RBOC enforces a fairly strict "Microsoft only" policy on desktop boxes, where much of the Slammer infections happened.
Also, a large, new airport's (conveniently in the same city the RBOC has headquarters) intranet got shut down because a political appointtee's notebook computer carried a copy of some Windows worm into the intranet.
Both of these incidents are roughly the same as what you report, and neither made the news.
They also raise the question, "Why do corporations have this fixation on a desktop operating system that doesn't really offer them any flexibility, and costs them big dollars to maintain?" I have no answer.
Posted by: Bruce Ediger | May 1, 2005 4:24:23 PM
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