Today must be a “quiet news day”. We see precious little IT news in the national press, and I know it’s the middle of August, but Metro, the UK’s free newspaper for commuters in and out of our major cities, is really scraping the barrel with its IT reporting this morning. On page 21, a sixth of a page is given over to a story about a worm attacking Windows 2000 (Hackers target Windows 2000) – an officially unsupported operating system. I wouldn’t mind that such a non-event is reported if only it were accurate. According to the Metro article:
“The basic effect of the worm is not damaging but irritating – it forces the computer to repeatedly shut down and reboot, clogging networks.”
Since when did a reboot clog up a network? (A few bytes of DHCP traffic; an increased number of logons). Allegedly, “ABC News producers were forced to use electronic typewriters to prepare TV scripts”. It seems to me that the most pertinent point of the article was the quote from a security expert from McAfee who said that the time between vulnerability exposure and exploit is lessening – something we’ve known for some time now. Microsoft’s advice on what to do about this exploit, known as Zotob indicates that “only a small number of customers have been affected… [with] no indication of widespread impact to the Internet” (although Sophos lists a dozen types of malware exploiting the MS05-039 vulnerability used by Zotob).
The Metro reporter, Sarah Hills, needs to do some research – perhaps instead of alarming a generally computer-illiterate public she should point out that Windows 2000 is old and those organisations affected should tighten up their anti-virus protection! More to the point, the exploit also affects Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 – not just Windows 2000!
In the same paper, immediately below the “Hackers target Windows 2000” piece, is another one about how “Bluetooth thieves log your laptop”, scanning parked cars for Bluetooth devices locked in the boot. Isn’t Bluetooth off when my laptop is switched off?
I know it’s all about stories being newsworthy, but what I’d really like to see is the occasional IT piece in the national press which is both accurate and timely, without being alarmist.