Engaging in worm warfare

Tuesday, 13 January 2004, 12:43 AM EST

Last summer, it seemed the onslaught would never end. One after another, a progression of worms and other malware threatened to bring down systems as enterprises floundered in a morass of unpatched vulnerabilities and malicious e-mails opened by unwary employees.

The worms did more than just annoy. Organizations ranging from the U.S. Marine Corps to CSX, one of the larger transportation companies in the world, found themselves temporarily out of business. At CSX, the Nachi worm took out the sprawling railroad’s signaling systems, stranding train traffic for nearly two days.

This winter, things appear to have calmed down. New worm attacks have dropped to a lower level — but that doesn’t mean the threat is gone.

It may seem as though the best way to cope with worms is to accept defeat, but that’s not true. You need to stay on your toes and keep up with new techniques for dealing with these worms as they are developed. The best worm defense means doing what you’ve always done — keep your anti-virus software up to date, and patch, patch, patch — and backing it up with cultural changes that emphasize the value of security.

By Wayne Rash at InfoWorld.

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