Code Red worm prompts DOD to block Web site access

Code Red worm prompts DOD to block Web site access

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff

JULY 23'The Defense Department has blocked public access to its Web sites until the Code Red computer worm virus no longer poses a threat.

Authorized government users still have full access to Defense Web sites and the Internet, said Maj. Barry Venable, spokesman for the Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., which monitors Defense networks. But as of late last week, DOD had blocked public access in an effort to contain the virus.

Venable said DOD has had some 'minor impacts' on systems because of Code Red, but no major damage. The worm was first noticed about a week ago and some reports have estimated that more than 225,000 systems globally were hit. One of the virus' intended targets was the White House Web site, according to network protection company eEye Digital Security of Aliso Viejo, Calif. But the White House tech team eluded the attack by shifting the site to a new uniform resource locator.

'It caused some interruption of network services, but those I'd characterize as minimal' to Defense systems, Venable said.

The virus can destroy or delete some files and is capable of flooding systems 'if it propagates itself enough,' leading to denial of service, Venable said.

Although Venable said the department has contained the virus by taking proactive measures he was not sure when DOD would restore public access. It depends on how quickly the virus is contained, he said.

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