Slammer worm impact short lived as victims wear egg

The impact of last Saturday's "Slammer" DDoS worm, which temporarily crippled server bandwidth in the US, Korea and Europe appears to have died a relatively quick death upon arrival in Australia, with few visible victims despite a substantial spike in scanning, according to AusCERT.

AusCERT security analyst Jamie Gillespie, who was on duty at the time the worm struck locally, said that scanning activity had abated to "negligible background noise levels" by Monday afternoon, despite a mountain of hype from security vendors and media.

"This one seems to be subsiding quite nicely so far. A couple of ISPs in Australia were reporting three to four times normal traffic [during the peak] of the attack, with some people saying upwards of 100Megabits/sec on larger connections.

"It seems to be the thing that when you see an exploit patched up, a few months later you'll see the worm for it spread around."

Although the Microsoft SQL Server vulnerability was identified and patched as a hot fix in July 2002, affected users may have delayed patching in order to assess any adverse consequences of (MS SQL Server) Service Pack 3, released on January 12 2003, a fortnight before Slammer struck. Additionally, the release date may have seen many IT staff still on leave.

While most enterprise victims are traditionally silent about such exposure, Microsoft .Net Users Group Sydney president, Adam Cogan was offering a heartfelt confessional.

"It's got a lot of traction, it affected a lot of people. It brought down quite a few of our customers… it brought down our company, ssw.com.au (Superior Software for Windows), and members of our user group were affected," Cogan said.

"It shows the popularity of SQL Server these days that so many people were affected like this. It's important to treat security as a high priority. When a service pack comes out we now know we have to treat this seriously and do it as quickly as possible.

"Everybody knew about Service Pack 3. The people I have spoken to this morning felt like they were a bit slack about waiting too long to put the service pack on. Don't stuff around," Cogan mournfully continued.

Daniel Zatz, senior security consultant for Computer Associates, warned that SMEs were at particular risk. "You will probably find that a number of small business organisations will be running Microsoft Small Business Server in which the advanced edit installs MS SQL Server by default – whether you want it or not. The cost will be in labour and time."

Others are less forgiving. A well-placed source within a telco said, "Seriously, what the #%&* are these people doing? Which idiot puts MS SQL Server anywhere near the frontline? If you're a victim site, you have bigger issues to worry about -- sack your IT staff . . . now! (And don't worry about passwords, they're all probably 'password')."

Anthony Turco, Australia and New Zealand vice president of TruSecure Corporation, was more diplomatic. "You would have to have a really good business reason not to have that port -- 1434/UDP -- externally shut off and firewalled. People have to take this stuff seriously. That's the trade off with software that is feature rich."

Join the newsletter!

Or

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.

Julian Bajkowski

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?