Cyber attack hits New Zealand
Date: August 19, 2003
Numerous computer worms are eating through computer networks in New Zealand forcing companies to enact emergency backup procedures.
TVNZ, including nzoom.com, has been attacked and technicians told non-critical staff to go home and turn their computers off to prevent further infection.
The global attack has raised alarms at computer security company TrendMicro which said it had already received infection notices from Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. Microsoft knew of one of the first worms, called Blaster, in July which is capable of shutting down any infected computer.
But Microsoft warns the new worms could be much worse.
"People could take the existing worm and they could modify it so that it could do things that are much more violent to your machine... they could delete data or take that data and information and spread it to someone else," said Terry Allen of Microsoft New Zealand.
One of the new computer worms is spreading through a security hole in Microsoft windows but, unlike the Blaster worm, the new worm is patching the security hole.
But it is nonetheless bogging down network systems.
Meanwhile, Microsoft says it is getting thousands of calls for help a day from those infected with the Blaster worm, which causes the infected computer to shut down.
Blaster has already caused havoc at Auckland University and Tauranga District Council.
Microsoft New Zealand is still getting three thousand calls a day on how to get a free download, called a patch, to get rid of the virus.
This week alone Blaster has infected half a million computers worldwide.
Paul Brislen of Computer World Newspaper told a software conference in Auckland of bleak predictions ahead.
"From this virus we're still at risk and will be for years to come. Nothing will keep you completely safe unfortunately. Short of pulling the plug from the wall," Brislen said.
Xtra handles more than half of all New Zealand's internet users and is warning consumers.
"We can only offer the advice to our customers. Really it's up to customers to patch themselves and make sure that their systems are protected," Xtra spokesperson Anne Kermode said.
You can log into the Microsoft website for the latest protection tips. But even then, regular updates are essential to keep a step ahead of the worm.
Microsoft said all computers are at risk unless they have a firewall, the latest software update and the latest virus checking software.
Original article at: http://onenews.nzoom.com/onenews_detail/0,1227,214398-1-7,00.html
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