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Malware Hits Norfolk’s Computers

Norfolk city in Virginia found that its almost 800 PCs were infected by a malware during the 2nd week of February 2010. The malware mysteriously made its way into a print server. There are approximately 4,500 PCs located at various places in the city.

Hap Cluff, IT Director of Norfolk, said that the malware seemed to get active when employees turned off their computers, as reported by ComputerWorld on February 17, 2010.

Details of the attack reveal that the malware almost erased everything from C-drives of the PCs contacting the infection as well as wiped out their Windows operating system. Consequently, the system directories' content on those computers reduced to 500MB in size from the usual 1.5GB.

More details disclose that the malware caused disruption on 11 servers. Workers, who shut down their PCs when not in use for energy conservation purpose, found their systems infected on turning them on the next time.

As various explanations come up regarding the incident, a few officials are convinced that the malware hasn't arrived via the Internet. According to them, someone having a link with the computer network of the city possibly introduced it.

Cluff states that it might have come because of the actions of a gullible worker or service provider, as reported by Hamptonroads on February 17, 2010. The IT Director described the threat as a "time bomb," which was probably downloaded way in the past and configured to strike on a particular day.

Meanwhile, authorities expressed astonishment at the maliciousness and sophistication of the sudden attack. A few of them said that they hadn't ever known of a country or city of the size as Norfolk experiencing the kind of attack on its computers.

However, experts at the virus protection company Symantec traveled to Norfolk to investigate the incident along with the authorities there.

Officials at the city stated that they were treating the event as an offense of high order and they had informed the FBI. They would also isolate a number of computers located in different places to facilitate further analysis of the assault, they reported.

Related article: Malware Authors Turn More Insidious

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