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Windows Virus Shuts Down Some SBC, CNN, ABC Computers

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A computer virus targeting Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software shut down machines at Time Warner Inc.'s CNN and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC network.

CNN spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg confirmed computer failures in Atlanta and New York and said she wasn't sure which worm caused the damage. ABC computers on the East and West coasts were affected, spokesman Jeff Schneider said today. He also couldn't identify the worm or virus.

The Zotob computer worm has been spreading since Sunday and affects machines running Windows 2003, 2000 and XP, according to anti-virus software maker Symantec Corp. Symantec rates Zotob, of which there are four variants, a 2 or ``Low'' in severity with 5 being the highest. Microsoft's Windows runs almost 95 percent of the world's personal computers.

The worm takes advantage of a Windows flaw that Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft disclosed on Aug. 9 along with a software update to fix the flaw.

The time between the disclosure of a flaw and the creation of a worm or computer virus that takes advantage of the hole has been decreasing from months to days over the last four years. That has made it more important for Windows customers to apply software updates quickly after the disclosure of security holes.

A patch for the security hole is available at
Microsoft has been working for two years to boost the security of its Windows operating system, training engineers to avoid common flaws and holding off development of its next Windows to release a security overhaul to 2001's Windows XP in August 2004.

Shares of Microsoft fell 39 cents to $26.74 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading and are little changed this year.

The company last month released a test version of its next Windows that aims to further improve the products' resistance to computer viruses.

Updated Report.

update 2

Time Warner Inc.'s Cable News Network, SBC Communications Inc. and Pearson Plc's Financial Times computers were shut down by a computer worm that targets Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software.


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