Did Blaster cause the blackout?

Friday, 22 August 2003, 3:12 PM EST

Rumours are circulating that the MSBLAST worm, also affectionately known as Blaster, may have been the cause of the blackout that killed the power in a whole swathe of states from the mid-west through to New York recently.

We received an email that had picked up on a discussion from bugtraq, which suggests this could have been the case. Here is the line of reasoning:

Blaster is a worm that exploits a Remote Procedure Call (RPC) flaw to infect vulnerable Windows machines. It spread rapidly in the past couple of weeks and is still infecting computers everywhere. Microsoft issued a patch last month to fix the problem, but uptake of the patch was slow and the worm writer was fast off the mark. The worm affects unpatched Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems using an executable named MSBLAST. Blaster scans addresses on the Internet to locate vulnerable machines and copies itself to any machine it can break into.

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