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Google recovers after virus hits
From: <lee () seethrusec co uk>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 23:56:43 +0100
Net search engine Google appeared to resume normal service in the UK around
2000BST after a virus crippled its search engine.
Net security firms reported that the havoc seemed to have been caused by a
new variant of the MyDoom virus.
Google confirmed a number of users in the UK and some US and French users
were experiencing problems.
The search engine is one of the most popular on the net, dealing with 200
million global queries a day.
First reports of the problems with the UK service started emerging at around
1530 GMT (1630 BST).
Instead of getting a page of results, some users in the UK, US and France
were confronted with a server error instead. Other net users have reported
In a statement Google said on Monday night: "The Google search engine
experienced slowness for a short period of time earlier today because of the
MyDoom virus, which flooded major search engines with automated searches.
"A small number of users and networks that have the MyDoom virus have been
affected for a longer period of time.
"At no point was the Google website significantly impaired."
Google is one of several search engines used by MyDoom to find valid e-mail
addresses on the net. Past versions of the virus only searched a user's own
computer or address list.
The MyDoom-O variant spreads in the form of an e-mail attachment.
The attached message pretends to be from the user's net provider's or
company's support team saying that their PC has been used by hackers to send
Previous versions of MyDoom have launched distributed denial of service
attacks (DDoS) on websites like Microsoft and software firm SCO.
Infected computers are used to bombard target websites with bogus data
packages that utterly paralyse the sites.
"It does not appear to launch a traditional DDoS attack," said Graham
Cluley, senior technology consultant for anti-virus firm Sophos, "and it is
not just Google, but Altavista, Yahoo and Lycos."
"MyDoom uses a revolutionary new technique - I don't think we have seen this
before," he added.
The new MyDoom variant searches infected machines for e-mail addresses, like
other viruses before it.
But it also uses search engines to look for even more addresses in online
forums and webpages.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, announced its plans to float on
the stock market in April.
On Monday it announced it hoped its initial public offering (IPO) could
raise as much as $3.3bn (£1.8bn), although no date for the IPO has been set.
This would give the California-based firm an initial market capitalisation
as high as $36.25bn.
Google's web index is huge, carrying more than six billion items.
The phrase "to google" has entered popular parlance as a verb to describe an
But it faces growing competition from MSN and Yahoo, which are investing in
search technology to try to win back web surfers.
"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge
faster than society gathers wisdom."
-Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
Lee @ STS
Building Knowledge and Security..
Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.