Computer Virus Snapped Networks at Sullivan Government Offices

A dangerous virus that infected computers of the Sullivan County Government Center as well as of the Sheriff's Office in Monticello (USA), has snapped networks of both the institutions.

Security investigators suspect that the virus emerged from the Netherlands and crept in so quietly that antivirus software could not detect it when it infected the county's computers.

David Fanslau, Manager at Sullivan County, said that due to the virus attack, whole week's productivity was lost, as reported by recordonline on March 5, 2009. Mr. Fanslau further stated that they suspected a series of e-mail that Bill Pammer, Planning Commissioner, sent to his employees, alerting them about cleaning their computers of any possible malware. However, investigation is on whether there is any other channel like a portable device through which the virus might have entered the District Attorney's or Sheriff's Office computers, Fanslau added.

Some computers in the county started showing signs of viral infection on February 27, 2009 when the calendars on the systems spun ahead to December 31, 2069. On Fanslau's own computer, the time showed year 4500 and subsequently back to 2070 when he booted it on March 2, 2009.

However, county staff soon discovered that there were more harmful effects from the virus than the calendar trickery like they were not allowed to log on their PCs. The infection was caused by a combination of a rootkit, a worm and a Trojan. It hindered updating of financial records, processing of purchase orders and prevented Fanslau from preparing a presentation.

Computer Associates, the virus protection firm in the county, reported that the contagious virus was so unique and new that it was not possible to establish a remedy. However, technicians are doing everything to restore the computers' online connectivity.

Meanwhile, the Offices said that no essential data was compromised. Commissioner of County Emergency Services said that the attack did not affect the communication and transmission of emergency services.

Notably, virus attacks against computers of the US government offices are increasing including one that also spread to Houston's municipal court computers in February 2009, the security officials said.

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