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Topic Of The Week: Computer Security
The Sasser worm, developed by an 18 year-old in Germany who also made the ubiquitous "Netsky" email virus, infected an estimated million computers last week, 80% of which belonged to home users and students. It takes an average of ten minutes for an unprotected Windows XP or 2000 PC to be affected once connected to the net. Victims included:

  • American Express (causing cancellations and delays)
  • Associated Press
  • Boston University (over 1,000 PCs)
  • Citibank (light infection)
  • Delta Airlines
  • The European Commission headquarters (infecting 1,200 PCs)
  • The French Stock Exchange
  • Germany's Deutsche Post (infecting 300,000 PCs)
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Lehman Brothers Holdings (light infection)
  • London's Heathrow Airport (shutting down a terminal)
  • Sampo Bank in Finland, shutting down 130 branches
  • Suntrust Bank
  • Taiwan's national postal service (forcing 1/3 of branches to paper)
  • The U.K.'s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (forcing paper map charting)
  • University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (delaying appointments and treatments)
  • Westpac Bank in Australia (forcing transactions to paper)
  • The entire school district of Maury County, Tennessee
  • An Australian railway
  • At least four public banks in India
  • "Dozens" of companies in Vietnam
  • Government networks in Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • One of Korea's largest hospitals, causing patient processing delays

...and experts warn of worse to come. Now why banks, airlines, and stock exchanges would open themselves up to being so vulnerable by using unpatched, networked Windows systems is completely beyond me. Haven't these people heard of firewalls? Get a Mac, folks! And for your servers, use a secure UNIX like BSD!
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