No foolproof way to beat virus attack for now

August 17, 2005

Microsoft continues to be the prime target for those intent on wrecking havoc in cyberspace, but for now the software giant argues that only it can save users from computer-virus attacks.

A slew of companies and organizations including media outlets suffered from computer-system outages for a few hours Tuesday as the worm called Zotob exploited flaws in Microsoft's Windows program.

Those vulnerabilities, however, were recognized by the software giant on Aug. 9, and it issued a patch and urged users to download it to prevent being attacked. In a news release from the weekend, the Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft acknowledged that the Zotob worm targets computers using its Windows 2000 software and pointed out that other Windows program were not at risk from the worm.

In addition, the company said that "if you have installed the update released with (Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-039), you are already protected from Zotob and its variants." Microsoft also stated that computer users can protect themselves from future attacks "by installing security update 899588" by downloading it from a link from its own Web site.

Those who were able to download the patch were unaffected by the virus, but those who did not -- who were the majority -- were hurt by Zotob, said Tom Neclerio, vice president of security at Perimeter Internetworking, a network security service provider in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Neclerio told UPI that while virus attacks are to be expected, the gap between when a company issues a patch and when attacks proliferate worldwide is getting shorter and shorter.

"The timeframe to exploit the patch is decreasing ... in the past, it used to be years, then months. And now it hit in a few days," he said.

Meanwhile, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish software security group F-Secure, said in a statement that Zotob and its variants Bozori and IRCbot were still exploiting the computers that had not yet been protected by firewalls, adding that "the latest variants of Bozori even remove competing viruses like Zotob from the infected machines."

F-Secure also pointed out that the "infection has most likely originated from infected laptops carried inside an organization's perimeter firewall."

For now, though, computer analysts broadly agree that virus attacks are only to be expected, and users must be proactive by downloading patches as soon as they are issued, as a completely foolproof anti-virus system is still not available.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: French network's broadcasts hacked by group claiming IS ties (Update)

Related Stories

Cybercrime fears remain despite arrests

August 29, 2005

Terrorism authorities across the globe have been keeping close tabs on Muslim countries that may be breeding grounds for Islamic fundamentalism, but they are now finding that some of those nations might actually be a hotbed ...

Recommended for you

Fermi finds record-breaking binary in galaxy next door

September 29, 2016

Using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other facilities, an international team of scientists has found the first gamma-ray binary in another galaxy and the most luminous one ever seen. The dual-star system, ...

Game theory research reveals fragility of common resources

September 29, 2016

New research in game theory shows that people are naturally predisposed to over-use "common-pool resources" such as transportation systems and fisheries even if it risks failure of the system, to the detriment of society ...

Scientists: World likely won't avoid dangerous warming mark

September 29, 2016

A team of top scientists is telling world leaders to stop congratulating themselves on the Paris agreement to fight climate change because if more isn't done, global temperatures will likely hit dangerous warming levels in ...

Sugar gives bees a happy buzz, study finds

September 29, 2016

An unexpected sugary snack can give bees a little buzz and appears to lift their mood, even making them optimistic, according to research Thursday that suggests pollinators have feelings, too.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.