Blame the geeks

The Slammer worm that slowed down large sections of the internet over the weekend and caused ATM machines to crash in the good old US of A was propagated by foolish system administrators, apparently.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  January 28, 2003

The Slammer worm that slowed down large sections of the internet over the weekend and caused ATM machines to crash in the good old US of A was propagated by foolish system administrators, apparently.

According to a survey by Sophos Anti-Virus, 64% of poll participants felt that system administrators who failed to keep their systems updated with the latest security patches had been most at fault for allowing Slammer to spread.

A further 24% blamed the security whipping boys at Microsoft for shipping buggy software, even though Microsoft warned system administrators of the security hole back in July 2002.

The poll also revealed that many system administrators have not put in place a formal way of dealing with new security vulnerabilities as they are discovered, with 12% relying on mainstream news reports to tell them about potential problems.

“The Slammer worm [that] slowed parts of the internet to tortoise pace this weekend… was 100% preventable,” says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus.

“If network managers had put the patch from Microsoft in place when it was first announced last year, the worm would have had no air to breathe. Companies should put formal systems in place now to patch against future vulnerabilities or they could find themselves in a sticky mess,” he adds.

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