Navy's Intranet crippled by worm outbreak

Wednesday, 20 August 2003, 2:35 PM EST

The Navy confirmed today that its multibillion-dollar Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (N/MCI) has been taken off-line by what could be a combined onslaught of the Blaster worm variant and Sobig.F Internet worms, which are spreading fast.

A U.S. Navy spokesman said the details of the network's problems are still coming in and that it is unclear whether one or both worms were responsible for the failure. Navy officials are holding an emergency meeting to study the problem.

N/MCI is a $6.9 billion IT outsourcing contract, often referred to as seat management, that will give the Navy and Marine Corps secure, universal access to integrated voice, video and data communications. Plano, Texas-based Electronic Data Systems Corp. won the contract in October 2000. However, technical difficulties, deployment delays and user complaints have hampered the program since its inception.

Discovered on Aug. 19, SoBig.F is spreading today at a fast rate in the wild. The worm spreads via random e-mails. Garbage characters are appended to the SoBig worm in an attempt to make it difficult to detect, said Ken Dunham, malicious code intelligence manager at iDefense Inc. in Reston, Va.

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