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Infected USB Stick Caused System Closure at Waikato DHB

An infected 'Universal Serial Bus' (USB) stick plugged into a computer system in a carpark booth at the Hamilton, New Zealand, located Waikato Hospital, has been understood as the reason for the shutdown of the computer network of the DHB (District Health Board) during December 2009. The carpark stand, apparently, had a connection with the DHB network.

The infection, which was due to a variant of the Conficker worm, caused approximately 3000 PCs on the DHB network to become contaminated, compelling the systems to be completely shut over roughly a 3-day period. Consequently, the malicious attack paralyzed hospital services and about 5,600 staff members.

Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the Conficker worm started proliferating during November 2008. At first, it exploited a security flaw in Microsoft Windows that, however, was patched quickly. Since then, the worm's capability to proliferate through contaminated USB devices onto host computers and onto poorly protected networks from there have come forward.

Stephan Wuffli, Northern General Manager of Wilson Parking, confirmed on March 10, 2010 that the USB stick was indeed responsible for the infection. However, the Waikato DHB repeatedly kept the information undeclared, as per the news release published by Stuff.co.nz on March 11, 2010.

Remarking about the problem, Dougal Mair, IT expert at Waikato University, stated that USB sticks worked as a sensible means for a worm like Conficker to contaminate a whole network, according to a statement published by Stuff.co.nz on March 11, 2010.

Mair further elucidated that the malicious Conficker could have its origin in the computer of either the Wilson Parking or the administration staff of the DHB, since both had access to the carpark stand.

He said that the university, over time, had been infected with the worm in different pockets; however, its experts had managed to detect them fast and quarantine the affected segments.

Finally, the Conficker worm has compromised several other PCs worldwide right from the time it emerged. The one to be infected most lately was the IT systems at UK's West Middlesex University Hospital during February 2010. The infection was made by the well-known 'Conficker A' variant of the malicious worm.

Related article: Infection in Chinese Security Website

» SPAMfighter News - 3/22/2010

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