Love Bug bites DOD—but not too painfully

Love Bug bites DOD—but not too painfully

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

MAY 5—Although the ILOVEYOU virus yesterday wormed its way into many Defense Department computers via e-mail attachments, the resulting problems were minor, DOD officials said today.

"Some installations had to shut down their public servers," said Scott Johnson, a spokesman for the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense at the Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. "It was a minor inconvenience, more than anything else." Task force officials receive computer security reports from the service's computer emergency response centers.

The Pentagon reported yesterday that although the virus struck many systems within DOD, it only managed to affect systems on unclassified networks. No classified systems were affected, DOD officials said.

"We got a lot of calls," said Maj. Michael McNett, director of the Army Network and Systems Operations Center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. "Some sites brought down their Microsoft Exchange servers to proactively deal with it. We got a few reports of that from various sites." Despite the struggles, "overall, it went pretty well," he said.

DOD installations used Defense Information Systems Agency contracts to tap vendors for help battling the malicious virus, which spread through executable attachments to Exchange e-mail. DISA has antivirus site licenses with Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., and Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., Through those agreements, DOD users can get updates of the companies' antivirus products for PCs and servers. They can download the files from www.assist.mil.

The Marine Corps' experience with the Melissa virus in March 1999, when it killed access to DOD's Non-Classified IP Router Network e-mail for five days [GCN, Aug. 23, 1999, Page 52], prepared the Corps for responding to the so-called Love Bug, said Capt. Carl M. Wright, chief information security officer at the Network Operations Center at Quantico Marine Corps Base, Va.

"The impact was substantially less" than with Melissa, Wright said.

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