Internet virus strikes South Georgia businesses -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Internet virus strikes South Georgia businesses

It was business as usual Monday at Valdosta's Sprint PCS store, but that wasn't the case Saturday.

"Our Internet service was attacked by a virus and completely shut down," said Merrill Guice, Store Manager. "We couldn't pull up customer accounts or issue any phones."

On one of their busiest days of the week, Sprint had to turn away dozens of customers. "We had absolutely no sales Saturday," said Guice.

While hundreds of businesses nationwide were hurt by the virus, most home computers were spared. Computer Specialist Jason Hutchinson said the virus can only enter a particular port on SQL servers, commonly used by large companies.

"The worm gets into the port and either slows down or completely disables the server," said Hutchinson.  "It disarmed many of the local ATM machines and larger businesses that use the SQL server."

And while Hutchinson says most anti-virus scanners won't detect the worm, a few simple safety measures can help keep business servers safe.  "You can put up personal firewalls or use the firearms that Microsoft issued to help prevent a virus like this back in July," said Hutchinson.

After rebooting their servers, Sprint and most other businesses had their computers up and running again Monday morning.

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