Feeds

Conficker borks London council

Dirty USB shuts systems for days

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Updated An Ealing council employee infected the UK local authority's IT systems with the Conficker-D worm after he plugged an infected USB into a work computer, causing tens of thousands of pounds in damages in the process.

The May incident took several days to clean-up and landed the west London council with a bill of £500,000 in lost revenue and repairs, The Guardian reports. Because IT systems were borked, the council was unable to process more than 1,800 parking tickets, at an estimated cost of £90,000, libraries lost out on £25,000 in fines and booking fees, council property rent went uncollected, and £14,000 was spent in overime sorting out delayed housing benefit claims.

The infection was eventually traced back to the unfortunate housing department worker's PC, the Press Association adds.

Ealing council defended the council's handling of the incident in a statement (below).

Like many other organisations, Ealing Council’s computer and telephone network was attacked by a sophisticated virus.

The council acted immediately to protect all data and ensure that essential frontline services could continue to operate. Costs to the council included urgent work to recover computer systems and prevent the virus from spreading.

The outbreak bears the hallmarks of the Conficker worm, which affected Manchester City Council in February to much the same effect. A detailed report on he incident, compiled by the council, blamed the infection on he use of a USB stick contaminated by Conficker-D. The worm exploited a Windows Autorun security weakness in Windows 2000 machines used by the council to upload itself and spread

Connections to remote sites were blocked during the clean-up operations. That left staff in outlying offices without telephony (because the council relies on a VoIP-based system). It also left staff in the main council office without voicemail for days for the same reason.

IT chiefs have put in a bid for a council-wide XP upgrade and extra end point and anti-virus defences at a potential cost of £600K. The upgrade would give the ability o lock down ports on PCs.

Jason Holloway, regional sales manager Northern Europe for flash disk vendor SanDisk, commented: "It underlines the fact that conventional USB flash drives have become a key method for spreading infections stealthily, as the US Army found last year."

"It also shows that virus scanning has to extend beyond the PC to all types of removable storage or - better still - that employees should be issued with company flash drives that include on-board antivirus scanning," he added. ®

Bootnote

Ealing is best known for the film studio that gave birth to the classic Ealing comedies of the late 40s and 50s, including Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Lavender Hill Mob. More recently the studios were brought back to life for an ill-advised remake of St Trinian's.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.