Virus Disrupts Windows-Based State Department Computers

Just yesterday, we noted an article that warned that relying too heavily on Windows-based systems could have dire effects. According to an AP story carried by Yahoo News, just such dire effects have in fact been felt. Windows-based computers used by the US State Department to issue visas were knocked out for over nine hours by the Welchia virus. The State Department has claimed that the virus did not affect any data. From Yahoo News:

A virus seriously disrupted computer systems at the State Department, including the database for checking every visa applicant for terrorist or criminal history. The outage left the US government unable to issue visas worldwide for nine hours.

Effects of the virus crippled the departmentis Consular Lookout and Support System, known as CLASS, which contains more than 15 million records from the FBI (news - web sites), the State Department and US immigration, drug-enforcement and intelligence agencies. Among the names are those of at least 78,000 suspected terrorists.

State Department spokesman Stuart Patt said the "Welchia" virus did not affect any data on the name-checking system, and the agencyis classified computer network -- used to send its most sensitive messages and files -- was not affected. Service to some consular offices in Asia was restored within 11 hours.

You can read the full article at Yahoo Newsi Web site.