Worm attack shuts down motor vehicle offices in two states

| 8/18/2003

The latest hacker attack using a virus over the Internet affected motor vehicle departments in at least two states, shutting down their operations for a time, according to media reports.

All 24 offices of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration were shut down Aug. 12 after the Blaster worm invaded the agency’s computer network, The Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, 86 driver’s license offices in Louisiana shut down the same day as the worm crawled into their computer systems, according to The Times Picayune

Both agencies were up and running again by Aug. 14.

The worm also invaded other government offices and a large number of home computers across the country.

Microsoft Corp., the creator of the Windows operating system that the worm targets, said in a statement that the company started an investigation into the worm Aug. 11 after its Product Support Services division reported it. The invasive program targets Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

The worm can affect home computers. Some users of the Windows system might not even notice the worm on their systems, Microsoft said, but affected computers may reboot every few minutes, or become entirely unresponsive.

Since, according to the latest OOIDA member survey, more than half of truckers have computers and roughly half use them for their business records, it’s important that truckers protect their systems against Blaster. Microsoft suggests computer users fight the worm using anti-virus software, a patch provided by Microsoft that can be downloaded at the company’s site, or by installing a firewall program to protect their computer from invasion.

For more details about the virus and how to protect against it, go to http://www.microsoft.com/security/incident/blast.asp.