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14 Aug 2003

Laptops may bring Blaster disaster, Sophos Anti-Virus issues advice

Laptop users can bring the Blaster worm into companies
Laptop users can bring the Blaster worm into companies

The technical support department at Sophos, a world leader in anti-virus protection for businesses, has urged companies to safeguard their networks from laptops infected with W32/Blaster-A, the latest worm which has affected computers worldwide.

The Blaster worm, first seen on Monday 11 August, takes advantage of a Microsoft security vulnerability. A patch that addresses this vulnerability was made available on 16 July, and many companies downloaded it as well as updated the anti-virus software to protect their networks against Blaster and similar exploitative attacks.

However, some of these companies are revealing that they are still being hit by the worm, the culprit being their company laptops. Laptops are disconnected frequently from company networks when workers are on the road or working from home and may have not been fully updated with virus protection or security patches.

Even if the worm cannot spread to the protected computers in the network, it can still be used by the worm to launch a denial of service attack on the Microsoft website, windowsupdate.com.

"Don't forget about the laptops when you are sorting out your computer security," reminds Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "It is because they are not always connected to the network that administrators need to be extra vigilant about making laptops as impenetrable to viruses as possible."

Sophos even provides an easy way for remote workers (such as laptop users or employees based at their homes) to be kept up-to-date with their virus protection. Remote Update keeps Sophos Anti-Virus up to date on an end-user's computer via a website or network connection provided by their employer. It is ideally suited to employees of organisations who are infrequently, or never, connected to the main company network, but who do connect to the internet from time to time.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.