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Virus writers moving faster with attacks ! - 8/17/2005 7:24:11 PM   

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Media companies and other corporations hit by a wave of computer viruses this week said business was back to normal on Wednesday, but analysts warned the attacks showed hackers have gained a dangerous advantage in speed in the battle over network security.

ABC news writers resorted to typewriters to prepare copy for the "World News Tonight" broadcast on Tuesday, as the network and other media companies, including The New York Times, reported disruptions. CNN broke into programming with descriptions of its problems.

"Our systems are now working and our Web site is updated," said Jeffrey Schneider, a spokesman at ABC.

Although damage was seen limited to several thousand computers, security analysts said the events showed malicious code writers are accelerating the development of viruses as soon as weaknesses become apparent.
"These guys have gotten a lot faster ... they are doing it faster than managers can keep up with," said F-Secure virus researcher Ero Carrera.

That sets up a race between technology managers who must update their systems and virus writers aiming to exploit holes before they are "patched" to fix a vulnerability.

Vincent Gullotto, vice president of the anti-virus emergency response team at McAfee Inc., estimated that thousands of machines were affected by viruses in recent days, including two called "IRCBOT.WORM" and "RBOT.CBQ."

The viruses exploited recently discovered flaws in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 operating system, causing thousands of personal computers to restart repeatedly.

The viruses also potentially exposed computers to attackers who could take control of a system, launch future virus attacks and potentially glean personal data without a user's knowledge.

Symantec Corp. put the threat of the medley of viruses at an "elevated threat" of "2" on a scale where "4" is the most severe virus-threat level, according to Alfred Huger, Symantec's senior director of engineering.

Full story...

Source: Reuters
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