Confick or Downadup Worm Can Be Squashed: By Common Sense

But when that's in short supply, IT pros beware!

After PCs in a hospital operating room rebooted in the middle of surgery, a UK hospital IT advisory board ordered Windows Update turned off for all 8,000 PCs on its network. That was during the last week of December. Now guess who's battling a worm infestation?

At least 800 computers on that hospital's network are infected with the Conficker code, (aka Downadup) according to the UK-based publication, The Register. So far it appears that the only patients affected were those whose imaging appointments had to be rescheduled because computers were being cleaned.

Technology going kaput in surgery--it's yet another thing to sweat about next time a loved one goes under the knife. My mother, a nurse, researches the backgrounds of her doctors and keeps track of her local hospitals' nursing staff ratings. Perhaps now she should also research a hospital's IT team and its record at preventing infections, leaks, and deaths of the IT kind.

One quote in the The Register article is particularly interesting. It's from (I suppose) an IT employee at that UK hospital: "Don't you just hate it when your boss is so computer illiterate yet has the power to veto the simplest of ideas to catastrophic end."

Which leads me to Lawrence Gordon, a cybersecurity guy. He wants business leaders to become more aware of the importance of cybersecurity. Well, he's going to try at least.

With the blessing of the University of Maryland's business school, Gordon is offering the Gordon Prize in Managing Cybersecurity Resources. It awards $1,000 to the best essay that offers an innovative solution for how to allocate "scarce resources to protect the massive amount of personal and sensitive data available on computer networks and online."

Maybe he was once overruled by a computer-illiterate manager. Obviously there's more to cybersecurity than not turning off Windows Update. But I think he'd agree that a lack of common sense, or common IT knowledge on the part of managers, needs to be fixed.

We took heed of a need for a fix--back in October 2008 "Microsoft Releases Rare Out-of-Band Security Patch." If you were too busy being overruled by management, check it out, as well as the Microsoft bulletin.

Finally, if you know an IT security pro or student who might want to try for this prize, send them to the business school website for the University of Maryland. Heck, one grand still is, well, grand.

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