Worm strikes down Windows 2000 systems
CNN, New York Times, ABC report crashes
Tuesday, August 16, 2005; Posted: 6:28 p.m. EDT (22:28 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A computer worm shut down computer systems running the Windows 2000 operating system across the United States on Tuesday, hitting computers at CNN, ABC and The New York Times.
Around 5 p.m. computers began crashing at CNN facilities in New York and Atlanta. ABC said its problems began in New York about 1:30 p.m.
The Caterpillar Co. in Peoria, Illinois also was reportedly affected.
David Perry of Trend Micro said that the attack seems to have been triggered by a new worm, called worm--rbot.ebq. He said the symptoms -- computers repeatedly shutting down and rebooting -- was consistent with that virus.
Johannes Ullrich, director of the Sans Institute, a network security firm in Jacksonville, Florida, said the outage also may have been caused by the Zotob worm, which was released last weekend.
"It will connect to a control server to ask for instructions. It scans network neighborhoods and tries to infect them, as well," Ullrich said.
Several versions of the worm have been released, some as late as Tuesday, he said.
While the worm primarily affects Windows 2000, it also can affect some early versions of Microsoft XP, he said.
Typically, the virus enters a system via a laptop connected to unsecured networks, Ullrich said. "This laptop will infect your systems from the inside."
Microsoft has made a patch to counter Zotob, he said.
At any given time, there are thousands of computer worms and viruses in existence. Most are stopped from becoming widespread problems by anti-virus software