Friday, August 15, 2003

Blaster worm gets Tazewell school system

The Bluefield paper reports here that the computer systems of the Tazewell County, VA school systems were among the victims of the Blaster worm.

In this office, myself and a staffer are sort of amateur computer hobbyists, we find out sporadically about which MS updates are good and which are bad through such resources as Woody's (which I recommend completely), and when we get worried about something, we call our computer guys, who usually tell us to do whatever we have already decided to do, and we do it. So, last week we did the update to avoid Blaster. (This system does not strike me as exactly fool-proof.) Also, the two of us rule on all the virus hoaxes that someone in the firm hears about from somebody.

The message we sent around on Blaster was this:


Donna and I have decided it is necessary for every machine to install a Windows patch - the one that is touted by the Dept. of Homeland Security.

The story below (which I just received) is part of the reason why -

Worms shut down thousands of Windows PCs

By Brian Livingston

I reported in the last issue of Brian's Buzz on the "port 135" security hole that Microsoft recently described as critical. This flaw affects not only Windows XP, 2000, and NT 4.0, but also the much-hyped new Windows Server 2003. Microsoft has released a patch, but most people haven't installed it yet. Well, time's running out - worms that exploit the flaw started making attempts to hit every PC on the Internet just a couple of weeks after the vulnerability became publicly known.

As I write this, Stanford University has reported that 2,400 of its roughly 20,000 campus PCs were infected in a matter of days by worms that took advantage of this hole. Malicious "Trojan" code that was deposited onto the machines' disks may take weeks to clean out of the systems, said Cedric Bennett, Stanford's director of information security services in a statement.

Even worse, the University of California at Berkeley announced that, due to the same attacks, it was being forced to shut down all access from outside the campus to its Windows-based file sharing and Exchange servers for a period of four days.

If you haven't yet secured your own systems against this hole, jump to my July 24 issue and read about the steps you need to take. To send me more information about this, or to send me a tip on any other subject, visit

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