- SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Computer security experts blame hackers for an Internet
attack that caused computers running Microsoft's Windows NT software to
crash from coast to coast, mostly in government and university offices.
- While no real harm was done, it was too
early to gauge the full extent of the attack. Experts said the far-flung
glitches could only have been the result of a deliberate act, The San Diego
Union-Tribune reported Wednesday.
- The crash Monday night affected computers
running Windows NT -- the operating system for larger computers and networks
-- and Windows 95.
- Problems were reported at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, the University of Minnesota
and University of California campuses in Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles
and San Diego.
- Unclassified Navy computers connected
to the Internet also crashed on Point Loma and in Charleston, South Carolina,
Norfolk, Virginia, and elsewhere.
- "It happened so fast," said
Craig Huckabee, a research associate in the Computer Systems Laboratory
at the University of Wisconsin. "In our department, I would have to
say about 90 percent of the machines were affected."
- Despite the coordination of the attack,
the computers that crashed could be restarted without losing information,
computer security experts said.
- The attackers used the Internet to broadly
distribute a snippet of deliberately malformed data, said Ron Broersma,
a civilian computer security expert at the Navy labs on Point Loma.
- The prank exploits a glitch in the Windows
NT program by instructing the computer to devote excessive memory resources
to solve a problem that can't be solved.
- Microsoft security manager Ed Muth said
the company is working on a software patch that fixes the vulnerability
in Windows NT programs.
- An unidentified Microsoft executive told
the Union-Tribune it was unknown if the attack was related to Microsoft
Chairman Bill Gates' appearance Tuesday at a Senate hearing where he defended
his company against allegations of antitrust violations.
- Copyright 1998 The Associated Press.
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