Code Red virus probably began in China, GAO official says
Agence France-Presse, 9/4/2001
WASHINGTON (September 2, 2001 11:42 p.m. EDT) - The Code Red computer
virus that gummed up Web servers around the world probably originated at
a university in China, a congressional report released Friday said.
The Code Red virus "is believed to have started at a university in
Guangdong, China," according to Keith Rhodes, the chief technologist for
the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm of Congress.
Rhodes' testimony was given to a hearing Wednesday and released Friday
by the GAO. He did not elaborate on the origin of the virus.
But he said the virus can do damage to the global Internet
infrastructure because it can "decrease the speed of the Internet and
cause sporadic but widespread outages among all types of systems."
He said that "the first version of Code Red created a randomly generated
list of Internet addresses to infect. However, the algorithm used to
generate the list was flawed, and infected systems ended up reinfecting
each other. The subsequent versions target victims a bit differently,
increasing the rate of infection."
The so-called Code Red virus is categorized as a "worm" which invades
servers and overwhelms their memory capacity, shutting them down just
before the worm is passed to another computer.
Servers are computers that pass data, such as Web pages and e-mail,
across the Internet. Individual computers are not vulnerable to the
Some versions of the Code Red virus targeted attacks on the White House
Internet server, although officials said no damage was done to the site.
Separately, a California-based research group said over 1 million
servers were infected by the Code Red virus and that the economic loss
from the infections was $2.6 billion dollars.
Computer Economics said the cost of cleaning an inspecting servers was
$1.1 billion and that $1.5 billion in productivity was lost.
It figured the total impact of virus attacks around the world for 2001
has hit $10.7 billion.