Chicago Highway Department Network Brought Down By Infected USB Drive

Malware outbreak infects hundreds of PCs, shutting down transportation department for two weeks.

A good illustration of how one unaware employee can bring down an entire organization.

It is now believed that the cause of a malware outbreak which shut down the Chicago highway agency network for two weeks was a single employee or infected USB drive. The department’s IT team ended up shutting down all systems for nine working days.

The infection eventually spread throughout the network, infecting 200 PCs and bringing the Cook County Department of Highway and Transportation’s network to a grinding halt. Cook County is home to more than five million people, making it one of the largest urban counties in the U.S.

Although the definite source of the infection will most likely never be confirmed with complete certainty, officials are stating that the likely source is an external USB drive. The system was infected via a backdoor Trojan virus which also acted like a worm. The malware then proceeded to go to work, eventually bringing the network to its knees. It made itself even more of a nuisance by renaming some shared files with “inappropriate labels.”

This is a reminder that smaller organizations without the manpower or budget to defend themselves from such attacks can easily be brought to a standstill by such relatively simple malware.

Original article by John E Dunn.
Read the full story here.

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