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Sysadmins taking brunt of blame

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Sysadmins are taking a big chunk of the blame for the latest worm attacks on Windows - said to have already infected 250,000 machines.

An online poll by security company Sophos had revealed that 20 percent of businessmen feel that the man dealing with the problem - the system administrator - is most to blame, for not patching systems fast enough.

The only consolation is that 35 percent of the 1,000 people polled blame Microsoft for the attacks, and a surprisingly low 45 percent, the virus writers themselves.

The attacks exploit a weakness in the plug-and-play element of Windows 2000 to attempt to gain control of PCs.

"What is most surprising is that so many people blame Microsoft for having the software flaw in the first place. Many respondents appear to be incredibly frustrated by the constant need to roll-out emergency patches across their organisations," commented Graham Cluley of Sophos.

An unknown number of businesses around the world have been hit by worms attempting to exploit the vulnerability, including, embarrassingly, a number of well-known media outlets such as CNN, ABC and The New York Times.

Sophos said it had detected another five such worms in the past 12 hours, taking the total number known to attempt exploits to 17 in all.

This has all happened at a time when Microsoft would rather users moved away from Windows 2000, evens so far as to remove mainstream support from the OS on June 30th of this year. Despite its evident unpopularity inside Microsoft, a recent survey discovered the uncomfortable fact that half of corporates still use it widely, four years after the introduction of its supposed replacement, XP.

Another recent survey by Sophos discovered that only 28 percent of those polled rated Microsoft as their most trusted operating system. Forty-seven percent reckoned Linux and Unix were more secure.

By John E. Dunn

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