Fear of seeing its public Web servers taken over by the Code Red worm has inspired the US Department of Defense (DoD) to disable nearly all of them as a precaution.
"Most Web sites will not be accessible by the public until this worm no longer poses any threat to DoD networks," Col. Catherine Abbott is quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
The worm exploits the now-famous .IDA vulnerability, for which a patch has existed for a month now, and defaces the home page of English-language NT/2K IIS servers it infects.
A series of defacements would be a most embarrassing aggravation for the mightiest military machine in human history, but DoD is probably far more worried about the fact that an .IDA exploit would yield system-level access to a compromised machine.
It's also showing a decided lack of confidence in its admins, who ought to have patched their machines weeks ago. Systems will come back on line when DoD is confident that its admins have install the required fixes.
Meanwhile, a modified version of Code Red has emerged. This one doesn't telegraph its presence with defacements, and includes an improved mechanism for propagation.
Readers eager to know when their favorite military Web sites have been restored may periodically consult the links below. ®