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[] Attack On Pentagon Computer Sparks Probe,

Los Angeles Times
March 20, 2003

Attack On Pentagon Computer Sparks Probe

By Joseph Menn, Times Staff Writer

Authorities are investigating a computer attack on a U.S. military
computer server that took advantage of a previously unknown flaw in a
Microsoft Corp. program.

The attacker accessed the Defense Department server last week through a
machine running the Windows 2000 operating system and Microsoft's
Internet Information
Server, which is used for displaying Web pages to the public.

Once inside, the hacker began scanning computers linked to the
compromised server and sending information back to an outside machine,
said Russ Cooper, who runs a
popular computer-security electronic mailing list.

A military official contacted both Cooper and Microsoft about the
problem, Cooper said. The company issued a "critical" alert with a
software patch Monday, citing an
attack on an unnamed customer. Army spokesman Gary Keck said Wednesday
that he had been instructed not to discuss the incident.

Cooper said it was unlikely that the hacker caused much harm, because
the targeted Web server probably was not networked to sensitive

"The Pentagon has incredibly powerful intrusion-detection software. It
would have been setting off alarms," Cooper said.

Some customers who installed the fix-it patch saw their computers crash
as a result. Microsoft said that problem, which since has been fixed,
was limited to machines
running Windows 2000 with a particular set of upgrades and one previous

Also Wednesday, Microsoft warned Windows users of another critical flaw
that could allow hackers to seize control of a computer through
specially designed e-mails or
viewed Web pages.

Olivier Minkwitz___________________________________________
Dipl. Pol.
HSFK Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
PRIF Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Leimenrode 29 60322 Frankfurt a/M Germany
Tel +49 (0)69 9591 0422  Fax +49 (0)69 5584 81                         pgpKey:0xAD48A592
minkwitz -!
- hsfk -

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