Virus attacks switched off US power

Monday, 1 September 2003, 3:13 PM EST

August 2003 was the worst month for virus attacks in history – and one virus may have switched off the lights on America's East Coast, according to the experts.

The W32.Blaster worm may have contributed to the cascading effect of the August 14 blackout on the US East Coast, reports Computerworld. It was also the second-most infectious virus last month.

On the day of the blackout, Blaster degraded the performance of several communications lines linking key data centres used by utility companies to manage the power grid, sources told Computerworld. Many control systems are based on Windows 2000 or Windows XP, the report states.

Online security specialist Central Command's VP products and services Steven Sundermeier observed: "August turned into a plague of Internet worms affecting computer users worldwide. Multiple aggressive worms made it the worst month in history for the number of infections reported, impacted organizations and lost productivity."

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