Sophos, a world leader in corporate anti-virus protection, has reminded computer users of the importance of following safe computing practices after a Unix worm took advantage of known flaws in computer operating systems.
Thousands of websites are reported to have been affected by the Unix/SadMind worm, including that of TV presenter Keith 'Cheggers' Chegwin. Visitors to cheggersbedroom.com usually see Chegwin fronting his own internet programmes live from his bedroom, but this morning they were greeted by an expletive-filled screen.
The worm affects unpatched versions of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) web server 4.0 or 5.0 and unpatched versions of Solaris 7 or lower. When activated it scans networks looking for web servers to infect and attempts to deface them with an offensive message saying "f**k USA government f**k PoizonBOx".
The worm accesses web servers via an exploit in the operating system, but a patch for these vulnerabilities has been available since 1999.
"This worm should act as a timely reminder to network managers to practice safe computing and ensure their servers are up to date with the latest patches" said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus. "To suffer this type of attack, Chegwin's operating system must have been as exposed to the world as he was when he presented Naked Jungle."
Sophos continues to recommend companies protect their desktops and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.