Windows Sasser worm mutates, knocks out banks, EC; Macintosh unaffected

Security experts are analyzing the worm to determine where Windows worm Sasser might hit next.

“‘We don’t know yet, for example, if it attacks machines running on Windows XP Embedded, which runs ATM machines and cash registers. That would be disastrous for banks and retailers,’ said Raimund Genes, European president of security software firm Trend Micro,” Bernhard Warner reports for Reuters.

“In the space of three days, four variants have emerged, each capable of causing machines that run on Microsoft’s Windows operating systems XP, NT and 2000 to reboot without warning and knocking out some computer reservation systems. Victims include Goldman Sachs, Australia’s Westpac Bank and Finnish financial company Sampo. It has also hit about 300,000 computers at Germany’s Deutsche Post,” Warner reports.

“Staff were temporarily unable to issue cash over the counter as a result, German media reported, while a European Commission spokesman said Sasser hit 1,200 PCs Monday. ‘We had big problems yesterday,’ the EC spokesman said,” Warner reports. Full article here.

BBC News reports, “Taiwan’s national post office said 1,600 of its machines were hit by the virus which forced more than 400 of its 1200 branch offices to revert to pen and paper. The disruption left customers queuing in long lines at many of the company’s offices, according to television reports. Two Hong Kong government departments and some hospitals on the island were hit by the virus. In Australia Railcorp trains were halted apparently because a virus disrupted the radio systems and stopped drivers talking to signalmen. Also in Australia Westpac Bank staff were forced to use manual methods to record transactions as the virus made computers unusable. Two other banks reported infections. Finnish bancassurer Sampo said it had temporarily closed all its 130 branch offices as a precaution against Sasser. US airline Delta would not comment on reports that the virus caused disruption to its schedule.”

MacDailyNews Take: Computers running Apple’s Mac OS X are not affected by the Sasser worm. More information about how easy it is to add a Mac OS X machine to your computing arsenal here.

54 Comments

  1. Anyone wonders why Apple is coming out with new applications as it never has done before? iMotion anyone?

    Apple slowly but steadely is enticing people into its sw offerings and that sw can only run on an Apple computer. See the plan?

  2. Forget “artiom.” This is a PERFECT opportunity for a brief but VERY effective commercial–just flash the rapidly inreasing number of Windows viruses (or, better yet, Windows computers affected w/viruses) next to the equivalent Mac number. Then Sasser newspaper headlines like banks, rails shut down. Then close with “If you’re betting your company or homeland security on Windows…that’s a bad bet.”

  3. Here’s an idea that kills two birds with one stone.

    1: an ad campaign produced for (dare we say APPLE?) someone. The ad campaign is called: Bring It On! , or something like it.

    2: the ad campaign offers a a reward for someone who can successfully write a virus that will run on OSX. Make it worth it to try. And advertise the results. Hard!
    (of course, the clown who trys to write the virus and fails will be massively embarrased , but I don’t have a problem with that.) ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />
    Don’t even have to mention the “other” operating system. In fact, make a point of ignoring the word “W—–s”

    Apple: if you believe in your product, fling it out there and see if it sticks! That is how the real world operates, like it or not.

    I am not a programmer, but it certainly appears that if someone could write an OSX virus, they would have done it by now. There are enough Mac haters out there, believe me. One of them would have done it.

    Just a thought.

  4. One item in the article that really made my hair stand on end was the BBC news reports at the end of the story, “…In Australia Railcorp trains were halted apparently because a virus disrupted the radio systems and stopped drivers talking to signalmen…”. Now we’re talking about potential life-threatening issues of using Windows.

  5. Seahawk: had no idea about the $10,000 reward.

    Details?
    No, I am not looking to try to claim it, not a productive use of my time.

    Ok, I wouldnt have a clue how to do it!

  6. not many details. Companies put Mac Web server up for grabs: The first person to crack the password-protected page, grab a credit card number with a four-digit verification code, and change the phrase on the page will win themselves the prize money.

    There has been “Crack-A-Mac” contests with prizes ranging from $5k to $10k almost every year since years. To my knowledge no one has ever been able to claim the prize.

  7. Problem with finding the info is that the web/server site target of the contest stays on only for the duration of the contest. Hence, even if you find links they would probably be dead.

    Last contest I heard was on 2001. Did not followed the issue on years later.

  8. Good point iMike, that means that even if people would die (trains, hospitals, etc) Microsoft would be able to say : “not my fault, read the EULA”.

    Bigger question is: who the hell is the idiot to decide to use Windows on mission cricical systems?

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