Cities, businesses hit by computer worm
03:37 PM PDT on Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The Associated Press

SEATTLE - The city of Seattle and companies around Washington state were hit by the virus-like computer worm that has disrupted communication and snarled Internet traffic for tens of thousands of people worldwide.

The "LovSan" or "blaster" worm, which exploits a flaw in nearly all versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, infected about 1,000 of the city of Seattle's 10,000 computers, said D'Anne Mount, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Information Technology. The worm - which caused computers to frequently reboot - started appearing on computers Monday and continued through Tuesday, she said.

AP Graphic
Police and fire departments, which don't use Microsoft Windows, were not affected, she said.

Companies, including Boeing and Washington Mutual, said they have been applying software patches to computers in their networks since the July 16 warning by Microsoft that its Windows operating system carried a critical flaw.

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They did not install the fix on all computers, however, by the time the worm hit. About 30 computers at Boeing were hit by the worm, said spokesman Bob Jorgensen.

"If you had 50 people in your company, 30 would be a terrible number, but when you have 160,000, and 120,000 online, 30 is sort of a time to high-five," he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Washington Mutual also reported isolated cases, but no ATM machines were affected.

The worm also hit computers for KIRO Radio talk show host Dave Ross, who was discussing the worm on his show.

The script for a radio ad Ross was to read on air disappeared from his screen. Then the main computer system controlling the show's audio clips failed. Ross told listeners: "It's just me and you, people, because there's no computer and no backup," according to The Seattle Times.

Around the world, more than 128,000 infected computers have been infected, according to Symantec Corp.


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