DISA chief says DOD's Code Red defense worked

The director of the Defense Information Systems Agency today said the decision to block public access to many Defense Department Web sites because of threats posed by the Code Red computer virus limited damage to servers and let the department keep its systems running. Access was blocked for several weeks this month.

Gen. Harry Raduege, responding to a question at the Air Force Information Technology Conference in Montgomery, Ala., said that, during the attack, DISA's central processing units were starting to fill up at a much higher speed than normal. DISA could have left the units open "to see how long it took for us to come crashing down," Raduege said, but he instead opted to follow the directive of the Joint Taskforce for Computer Network Operations to shut down public access.

"This is warfare out there on the Net," Raduege said.

He said the decision resulted in fewer infections in Defense systems. DOD registered 218 infections. There were a total of 900,000 infections across the Internet, Raduege said.

During the temporary block, Raduege said, DISA went about its business by selectively turning on IP addresses to allow critical information to flow.

Authorized government users had 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.

The worm was first noticed in late July, but struck again on Aug. 2 and Aug. 9, and "it's hitting again right now," Raduege said.

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