Microsoft preps 200,000 CDs to fight Blaster in Japan

The Japanese unit of Microsoft will begin distributing 200,000 compact discs this weekend as part of its efforts to stop the Blaster worm.

Three anti-virus companies will each produce their own CD which will include Microsoft's Blaster patch and the company's own anti-virus software. The costs for the CD, which were not disclosed, will be born by Microsoft and the anti-virus companies, Trend Micro, Symantec and local-vendor Little Earth.

"We are getting a lot of requests from narrowband users and people who don't understand downloading," said Akiko Yamaguchi, a spokeswoman for Microsoft in Tokyo. The details of how the discs will be distributed has not been decided yet, however, it is expected they will be handed out at specialist computer retailers and possibly sent out in response to online applications, she said.

Microsoft's Blaster patch is about 1.2M bytes in size which translates to a download of roughly 5 to 10 minutes on a dial-up analog connection. In contrast, broadband subscribers can download the patch in between 5 and 10 seconds.

The CD is not the only offline response to Blaster in Japan.

Symantec held two-hour-long Blaster seminars with space for up to 400 people in Tokyo on Wednesday and Thursday and is planning two similar but smaller seminars for Osaka on Friday.

The Blaster worm is estimated to have infected at least a million computers running Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows NT and Windows Server 2003 software.

It was programmed to begin a denial of service attack on Microsoft's Windows Update Web site last weekend. In response, Microsoft pulled the windowsupdate.com domain name. That action didn't hit Windows Update because the domain name was only being used to direct users to the official home at windowsupdate.microsoft.com, however, it also didn't stop the worm from spreading.

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Martyn Williams

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