Patch practices fail Blaster test

The long list of casualties hit by the W32 Blaster Worm has once again proven IT managers are struggling to securely maintain their systems and keep patches up to date.

If Blaster was a test then IT managers failed miserably, but sadly the rampage was all too real as the victims of more than half a million computers running Windows will contest, especially some of Australia's largest companies which were crippled by the worm.

Astounded by the devastation of the aftermath considering Microsoft posted a software patch to fix the flaw on July 16, the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCert) general manager Graham Ingram said he was "surprised that IT managers were surprised".

He said there was plenty of warning with even the worst-case scenario of massive exploitation well articulated in advance of the attack.

"The whole nature of the threat was missed because the focus is on technical issues instead of security; patch models currently in use are not workable," Ingram said.

"IT professionals are responsible for maintaining security alerts, there is no shortage of information; it is not a difficult task and no one else is going to do it."

Information Security Interest Group (ISIG) chair Mark Ames agrees current practices are failing pointing out there are options other than patching 3000 desktops.

Ames said firewall and gateway controls can be used to block a particular string of packets.

He said complaints by IT managers that it takes time to test each patch before deployment is a "lame excuse".

Companies hit by the worm said patching hundreds of servers and thousands of workstations takes a lot of effort that involves scheduled downtime which is why the process needs to be reduced from hours to minutes.

Ironically, a new version of the W32.Blaster worm has emerged which cleans corrupted systems, then installs a software patch to prevent future infections.

Referred to as Worm_MSBLAST.D and Nachi it spreads by exploiting the same Windows security hole as the original.

However, unlike the original it is more concerned with fixing systems rather than exploiting their weaknesses by removing the Blaster worm file, downloading and installing a software patch and closing the security hole used by the worm. w - with Jaikumar Vijayan

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sandra Rossi

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?