Friday, March 2, 2007
Legal Agencies Slightly Affected as Virus Hits L.A. County Computers
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A computer virus that hit Los Angeles County government earlier in the week continued to affect some of the county’s legal agencies yesterday.
While those disruptions appear to have had little impact on public services, County Chief Information Security Officer Al Brusewitz told the MetNews that a total of 855 computers in 31 different departments were affected by what is most likely a “very recent release” of the worm W32.Rinbot.
The infected units, the CISO noted, make up a small percentage of the county’s 50,000-60,000 working computers.
“We started noticing our intrusion detection devices triggering Tuesday at 2 o’ clock [in the afternoon],” Brusewitz said. “That told us we were having a certain type of traffic, but not telling us as a specific virus. [Wednesday] night abut 10 o’clock we saw a big uptick in [viral] activity.”
All problems with Internet access and the ability to send and receive email were resolved by yesterday afternoon, Brusewitz said. About 30 of the infected computers were in the offices of the District Attorney, Public Defender, Alternate Public Defender, and County Counsel, he commented.
For many of the affected agencies, he said, the problems were so minor they might be unaware that a virus was at work until computers shut down or “strange things happen,” even though the intrusion detection systems are reporting a problem.
The Superior Court was unaffected, and a spokesperson for the district attorney said late yesterday afternoon she was unaware of the virus. One agency that did acknowledge problems was the office of the registrar-recorder/county clerk, but a spokesperson there said the office’s public services were unaffected.
The Sheriff’s Department had only two infected computers but asked the CISO to block certain types of computer traffic to their office to prevent the possibility of serious disruption, Brusewitz explained.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company