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Conficker Virus Hits Computer Systems of Greater Manchester Police

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) (Manchester, UK) has been disconnected from a national criminal database because of a recent attack by Conficker virus.

The probe of incident reveals that the harmful bug started targeting computers of GMP on the evening of January 29, 2010 and rapidly spread through the systems of the force. It blocked e-mail accounts and Internet connections of GMP. As a result, GMP has been disconnected from the Police National Computer (PNC), which checks names, criminal records and suspect vehicles against a national database.

Dave Thompson, Assistant Chief Constable, said that the virus was not malicious and no data had been lost. A team of experts is trying to remove the virus, and GMP will not be connected with the criminal database until they are sure about users' safety, as per the news by BBC News on February 2, 2010.

Thompson adds that at this point of time, there is uncertainty about the origin of virus but they are presently inspecting how the attack has taken place and will take actions to curb the similar attacks in future.

But the IT experts believe that the virus may have circulated through portable devices like memory sticks. Consequently, all the officials have been asked not to use authorized memory sticks.

The Police authorities believe that the force was not intentionally targeted by the Conficker Virus, which has hit a series of computer systems across the world since it first appeared in November 2008. It is known that the Conficker virus is a computer worm which attacks Microsoft Windows systems and leaves systems open to the attackers. It is said that the Conficker virus has infected almost 15 Million systems all over the world.

Security experts have commented that this attack confirms the latest discovery made by security company Akamai Technologies that the variants of Conficker worm were active and spreading in Q3 2009, and represented the maximum attack traffic on the Web.

Finally, this is not the first time that Manchester has been hit by the Conficker virus. In February 2009, Manchester council was attacked by the Conficker worm which cost the taxpayer £1.5 Million.

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