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03.10.09

New Casualties of Microsoft Windows?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hospital lobby
System is down despite emergencies

Summary: Another group of hospitals is besieged by Windows worms, patients turned away as a result

HOW MANY lives must be spared before hospitals realise that putting their operations in the hands of Windows is begging for trouble? This is mortal, too. Previously, we had seen such catastrophes that we covered in:

Well, it’s happening again:

Scottish hospitals laid low by malware infection

[...]

The infection of laboratory PCs at the Stobhill and Gartnavel General hospitals meant the bookings of 12 patients attending the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Care Centre in Glasgow were postponed, The Glasgow Herald reports. Systems were taken offline for two days to allow computer technicians to clean up the mess.

The Herald compares the outbreak to the infection of systems at three London hospitals by the MyTob worm four months ago. The malware outbreak at St Bartholomew’s, the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and The London Chest Hospital meant ambulances had to be briefly sent to other hospitals and meant that some appointments had to be rescheduled. In a small number of cases, medical staff had to fall back onto pen and paper backup systems. An independent review concluded the outbreak was “entirely avoidable”.

The article doesn’t mention Windows, but it does mention Conficker, which we last wrote about a few days ago. Heise has yet another report about this problem, which is by no means over.

Conficker modified for more mayhem

According to Symantec the Conficker worm has been modified to cause more damage. Previously the worm had only contacted about 250 domains a day, to look for commands and download new code. Symantec report that there is a new variant of Conficker using an algorithm which will contact up to 50,000 domains a day.

Might these “50,000 domains per day” include hospitals? Based on The Register, they might as well. GNU/Linux does not suffer from these problems.

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