Monday, August 18, 2003

Are you having a Blast with your IT?
The Blaster worm is attacking Windows servers and XP OS.

Normally I try to stay of the perpetual motion of things. But this one I could not resist. Microsoft is always under attack but PR people know that it does really matter what they say as long as they are talking about you.

The Blast worm has apparently been going around but it finally hit home with me today. I turned on my PC waited for all the start up programs to run their course. Next thing I know I get an error message. Then I get another window informing me that windows would shut down in 30 seconds as the counter began. It was a modest version of a bomb timer.

I did not think much of it. Must be a glitch. The third time I start to worry. What is this? This is a new computer. Who should I call?

The next time I was asked if I wished to send an error report I clicked on Send Now. I waited then clicked on more information.

The window displayed a link:
I thought ok I'm game. I clicked on the link as fast as I could because I was about to shut down again, the little timer in the error window was still counting down at a steady pace.

The link was directed to a page that discusses the Blast Worm. Apparently its hitting Windows servers as well as xp home edition operating systems.

I got hit from both XP and HP vulnerabilities. The Microsoft link explains how to enable your built in firewalls and then leads you to the latest downloadable patches. While I was waiting for the sizeable patch to complete the download the HP window pop up appears and asks if I would like more information on the Blast worm. BTW enabling the firewalls stops the little timer from shutting you down.

I had to wait until the patch was finished downloading of course but after that I clicked on view more and was instructed how to access the problem from the HP side. The RPC vulnerability is not much more than a system based glitch that causes an XP OS to shut down 30 seconds after it is turned off because it reads as an error that could harm other program files. It won't, its not a virus but a harmless worm.

Anyone with HP and XP know that they were dangerous bedfellows from jumpstreet.

From this and other unions I can understand the desire to keep hardware separate from software and leave it to the consumers discretion. Yet and still if you have ever had an actual virus attack your system you have better perimeters for realizing what trouble really is.

Of course, Microsoft will recieve another beating for leaving such vulnerabilities so available and downplaying the necessity for the latest patch that even I recall rejecting several months ago.

I don't download unsafely and I don't open email attachments without a scan so I don't worry to much when there is another patch out there that I need to download. Its part of it.

Linux is looking better and better but ultimately I think that Microsoft users are as loyal as Linux users. Then you get folks like me who don't care as long as it works and its easy to use.

I am not into monopolies of course and don't like to get into the politics of software but I am aware that it takes more than apples to make a fruit salad. The important thing is flavor.

My best advice on this one? Don't eat the worm!!!!


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