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U.K. parliament computers get Confickered

Blog posts e-mail saying the U.K. parliament's computer network is infected with the Conficker worm.

You'd think the British government would be up on the latest and greatest security practices, but apparently even officials there have their problems.

The U.K. parliament's computer network has been infected with the Conficker worm, according to the Dizzy Thinks blog.

In his own blog post, Trend Micro security researcher Rik Ferguson questioned the security practices that could have allowed Conficker onto such hallowed turf. "Dear Parliament, if you are having trouble cleaning this up, give us a call, we'll come and do it for nothing," he offers.

Below is the text of the e-mail that Dizzy says was sent to users of the infected official network:

To: All users connecting directly to the Parliamentary Network

The Parliamentary Network has been affected by a virus known as conficker. This virus affects users by slowing down the Network and by locking out some accounts. We are continuining [sic] to work with our third party partners to manage its removal and we need to act swiftly to clean computers that are infected.

We are scanning the Network and if we identify any equipment which we believe is infected with the virus then we will contact you to ensure that the device is either removed from the Network or cleaned and loaded with the correct software to prevent this infection reoccurring.

You can help us to contain this problem and prevent new infection by adhering to the following advice:

--We are unable to clean PCs and portable computers which are either not switched on or which are not authorised devices. We therefore ask that if you are running a PC or portable computer not authorised to be on the Network that you take it off immediately.

--An additional characteristic of this virus is that for some types of files it can skip direct to the Network from a USB memory stick or other portable storage device (e.g. mp3 players) without hitting the virus checker software. We ask that for the time being you do not use memory sticks or any other portable storage devices on the Parliamentary Network.

--If you do identify a problem with the equipment you are running, please contact the PICT Service Desk on 020 7219 2001 when it reopens on Wednesday 25 March from 8am.

--If you are connecting using one of our remote access services, from a Constituency Office for example, a separate communication will be sent to you. Director of Parliamentary ICT.