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There may have been no major outages for UK businesses as a result of the Sasser worm, according to Microsoft UK, but it caused significant problems in continental Europe.

According to Finnish news reports the worm infected thousands of Finnish computers both at homes and offices. The Sampo Bank had to shut down all its 130 branches on Monday morning, and most of them were closed for several hours. The corporate and Internet banking services functioned normally throughout the day, as did ATMs. Nor did the worm compromise money transfers or the privacy of customers, the international edition of Helsingin Sanomat reports. Finnish property and casualty insurance company If was also affected by the worm. In Sweden, the company's internal telecommunications connections stopped functioning.

In Germany, Deutsche Post decided to increase security through its firewall. However, this also blocked traffic to its other offices, causing significant delays in payments.

In France high profile infections included the French Stock Exchange and the France Presse news agency. Their communications were affected on Saturday. In Spain, judges at the national courthouse, including those investigating the 11 March bombings, were blocked by the worm too.

Sasser also hit the European Commission on Monday, but infected only about 1,200 of the 25,000 machines at the EU executive arm. At the commission in Brussels, the press and communication service as well as the offices of several commissioners were affected. Globally, Sasser has hit hundreds of thousands of computers. It has stopped train traffic in Australia, delayed Delta flights in the US and almost a third of Taiwan's national post office was paralysed. ®

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