- The frantic message came from the corporation’s information technology workers: “HELP NEEDED: If you have servers that are nonessential, please shut down.”
The computer system was under attack by a rogue program called SQL Slammer, which affected servers running Microsoft software that had not been updated with a patch – issued months ago – to fix the vulnerability. The worm hindered the operations of hundreds of thousands of computers, slowed Internet traffic and even disrupted thousands of A.T.M. terminals.
But this wasn’t happening at just any company. It was occurring at Microsoft itself. Some internal servers were affected, and service to users of the Microsoft Network was significantly slowed.
….The paradox was not lost on computer security experts. “Microsoft has been blaming the users, saying they have to keep their patches up to date,” said Bruce Schneier, founder and chief technical officer of Counterpane Internet Security Inc., a company that manages security for customers. “On the other hand, their own actions demonstrate how unrealistic that position is.”
A spokesman for Microsoft, Rick Miller, confirmed that a number of the company’s machines had gone unpatched, and that Microsoft Network services, like many others on the Internet, experienced a significant slowdown. “We, like the rest of the industry, struggle to get 100 percent compliance with our patch management,” he said. [NY Times]