Sunday, August 21, 2005

Zotob slams 13 Daimler Chrysler plants

A round of Internet worm infections related to the Zotob outbreak knocked 13 of DaimlerChrysler's U.S. auto manufacturing plants offline for almost an hour this week, stranding some 50,000 auto workers as infected Microsoft Windows systems were patched, a company spokesperson told eWEEK. Plants in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Delaware and Michigan were knocked offline at around 3:00 PM on Tuesday, stopping vehicle production at those plants for up to 50 minutes.

The company, which has headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, is still counting the total number of vehicles that it lost as a result of the disruption, but plans to make up the lost production over time, he said. However losses have been pegged as "not insignificant". DaimlerChrysler is still dealing with suppliers that are also dealing with infections, but does not know whether there will be any disruption in supplies and parts from those third-party companies.

However, the company is "Monday morning quarterbacking" and looking into the outbreak to see if changes need to be made in the way software patches are distributed. Some companies may have deprioritized patching because of a recent drought of high-profile worms and viruses, said John Pescatore, a vice president at analyst firm Gartner Inc. "There hasn't been a major worm since Sasser [in April 2004]. We've been seeing signs of complacency about patching," he said. A similar drop-off in worms in 2002 is also believed to have lulled IT staff into relaxing about patches, which led to a number of widespread outbreaks in 2003, such as SQL Slammer and Blaster.
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