Broadband Firm Unplugs Code Red Victims
By Tim McDonald, www.NewsFactor.com, 9/6/2001
One company is taking a novel -- if not necessarily compassionate --
approach to the effects of the Code Red computer virus. It is suspending
those of its customers it suspects of being victims.
Cable broadband company Blueyonder said in a statement that it is
enforcing the equivalent of an online quarantine because the infection
of some of its customers' computers "has at times resulted in poor
performance for our users," and represents a "significant risk of
failure of service."
The company, which is the high-speed Internet arm of UK-based Telewest,
said it will seek out and locate those customers who have been infected
by scanning its cache log files.
"Customers found to be infected with the Code Red virus will be
suspended immediately and have their accounts suspended until they have
patched their machines accordingly, " the notice said.
Since the notice was posted Wednesday, 51 companies have been diagnosed
with the virus, and their computer systems have been "hammering
Telewest's caches," according to the company.
Those users have been informed by e-mail of their suspensions, with
instructions on how to get their computers fixed and reconnected.
Company executives could not be reached for comment.
Broadband Hopes High
Telewest posted a loss for the second quarter, largely as the result of
a broadband price war in the United Kingdom, but hopes to double its
high-speed Internet subscribers this year.
The company gained 13,000 subscribers in the second quarter and now has
38,000 total subscribers, according to company figures.
Last month, Telewest officials said the company would begin offering its
customers Microsoft Outlook services on its network.
Started in China?
Code Red is categorized as a "worm," which means that it invades the
servers that pass data across the Internet and overwhelms their memory
capacity, causing them to go down just before the worm is passed to
The FBI (news - web sites)'s National Infrastructure Protection Center
(NIPC) issued a bulletin last month saying that "the Internet threat
posed by Code Red when it changes from a scanning mode to an active
distributed denial of service mode ... is significantly reduced."
A congressional report last week said the virus probably originated at a
university in China.
Industry experts say the global cost of the Code Red virus has surpassed
US$2 billion and could pass $8 billion by the time it runs its course,
including costs to patch systems and lost worker productivity.
Globally, virus costs in 2000 and 1999 reached $17.1 billion and $12.1
billion, respectively, according to independent research firm Computer
Economics. Love Bug was the costliest virus, with its ravages pegged at
$8.7 billion, followed by Melissa at $1.2 billion and the Explorer bug
at $1 billion.
The cost of overall virus attacks on IT systems globally has reached an
estimated $10.7 billion this year, according to the firm. SirCam cost
about $1 billion and affected more than 2 million computers.