EIM alerts outbreak of Sasser worm

EIM, the state run ISP has issued an alert to its 1.3 million users in UAE, about the new Sasser worm. The worm, which disrupted services at the Dubai International Airport yesterday is a self-executing worm and spreads by exploiting Windows vulnerability. No user intervention is required to become infected or propagate the worm.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  May 3, 2004

Emirates Internet & Multimedia (EIM), the state run ISP has issued an alert to its 1.3 million users in UAE, about the new Sasser worm. The worm, which disrupted services at the Dubai International Airport yesterday is a self-executing worm and spreads by exploiting Microsoft Windows vulnerability. No user intervention is required to become infected or propagate the virus further. The worm works by instructing vulnerable systems to download and execute the viral code. EIM is advising all users to find all information and instructions and update their operating systems with the latest patches from Microsoft.com or from the EIM websites: www.emirates.net.ae or www.eim.ae. Microsoft has verified that the worm exploits the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS) issue that was addressed by the security update released on April 13 in conjunction with a recent Microsoft Security Bulletin. The new Sasser worm (W32.Sasser.A and its variants), which disrupted passenger services at Dubai International Airport for much of yesterday is believed to have infiltrated the internet less than 48 hours ago. According to local newspaper reports, the airport IT staff first noticed the problem around 8 AM, affecting passenger check-in and baggage handling systems triggering a systems shutdown in certain operations. “Our IT security staff has been engaged in updating services at our airport facilities throughout the day, with security patches and virus scan updates. We are sorry this has inconvenienced passengers, but it is beyond our control. It was, in fact, a global problem and we took immediate action as soon as it surfaced. Passenger movement started improving only towards evening,” said Mike Simon, senior VP, corporate communications, Emirates Group. While, no official figures were available on the number of passengers affected because of the IT outage, the Dubai International Airport handled 18 million passengers last year alone, serving more than 100 airlines connecting to over 140 destinations. The outage, which lasted for more than eight hours, is estimated to have affected thousands of passengers. Microsoft and EIM have advised users to download free Sasser cleaners; install a free personal firewall, such as Zone Alarm or download the latest version from either of the anti-virus software vendors: Computer Associates; F-secure; Network Associates; Norman; Panda; Sophos; Symantec; Trend Micro or Grisoft.

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