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A Special Kind of Love An application called Microsoft Information

Scan was used to remove the worm from the

Sometimes, love can suffocate you. Just ask Fran Exchange e-mail application. Then, an antivirus
Wood. Wood is the chief operations officer (COO) program called Trend Micro Scan Mail was
of the New Mexico State Highway Department. On deployed to stop the virus from entering any
May 4, 2000, he was sitting in a meeting in computers linked to an outside network. Wood
Albuquerque when he received an urgent scanned all his 100 servers and 1,750 desktop
telephone call from his Santa Fe office. He couldn’t computers in 128 locations throughout New
believe his ears. All the computers of his Mexico to locate infected systems and clean them.
department had been flooded with e-mail Next, new software was installed to ensure that no
messages bearing subject “I Love You.” The “I Love unknown machine could log into his organization’s
You” worm, a virus multiplying and spreading in network until its ‘identity” was established. Finally,
networks, had destroyed text files and JPEG another antivirus application called Sophos was
(Image) files all over is system. And it was still distributed and installed on each of the
attacking. organization’s computers from a single central
The State Highway Department uses many computer.
JPEG files. JPEG is a standard for graphics files In addition to the software solution, a new
commonly used in Web Pages. The unit hit hardest policy was established and distributed. The policy
was the engineering department. Wood estimated now requires that employees take precautions with
the number of files to be affected to be 50,000 to suspect files such as Script files, ZIP files, and .exe
60,000. In its engineering design process, the (executable) file when receiving e-mail.
department uses many JPEG files, including those It took one week to bring 90 to 99 percent
taken with digital cameras and scanned into digital of the computers and peripheral equipment back
documents. The destruction came at the worst to good working condition and free to any virus.
time possible. Wood’s organization was in the Fortunately, not a single project was jeopardized
midst of integrating Microsoft Exchange and and no federal appropriation was denied as a result
Microsoft Outlook into a single e-mail program. It of this terrible experience. Wood admitted he was
did not have an emergency plan to deal with virus totally surprised by the sophistication of the virus
attacks and other security threats. and the speed at which it spread and destroyed
Wood’s first instruction was to shut down files.
every computer and piece of peripheral Now, security technology is playing more
equipment. The equipment was unplugged for two important role at the New Mexico Highway
days. Everything on computers, from design Department. Both software and policies work
processes to communications, was shut down. together to minimize the chances of another such
During these two days, all employees went back to attack.
using paper and pencils.
The next step Wood took was the
establishment of IT crisis management team. The Thinking about the case
team included employees from his own
organization as well as members of several 1. What caused the paralysis of computers at
consulting firms and equipment vendors. To check Wood’s organization?
whether the virus was still spreading, the team 2. Why is the type of virus mentioned in this case
turned on several computers less than 24 hours more dangerous than some others?
after the attack, only to shut them down 3. If you were in charge of the information systems
immediately; the virus was still spreading. The of an organization, what would you do to minimize
source, it was determined, was outside computers the chances of a virus attack?
linked to those of Wood’s organization.