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Virus Worms its way onto Arizona Attorney General Email Message

(Phoenix, Ariz. – March 1, 2005)  Members of the Arizona Attorney General’s Civil RightsAdvisory Board were victims of a computer worm after staff of the Civil Rights Division sent ane-mail notice to about 150 people of an upcoming meeting.  

The worm was lying dormant on the email server of one of the recipients on the list used by the Civil Rights Division. The worm was triggered by the large distribution list and began sending broadcast messages to all members of that list. The problem was exacerbated when another member of the distribution list sent a “reply all” message which triggered another instance of the worm.

The Attorney General’s Information Services staff identified the company that was the source of the worm, and worked with their information technology staff to isolate the virus. The email worm was successfully quarantined by 10:30 a.m.

“I understand the frustration people feel when they get blasted by these emails,” said Attorney General Terry Goddard. “My office worked diligently to identify and fix the problem. We are continuing to contact individuals to explain what happened.”

Goddard offered the following tips to avoid these types of viruses:

  • When sending an email to a large distribution list, the recipients should be blind copied on the message and the author should send the message to himself/herself.
  • If you receive an email that might be infected by a worm virus, do not send a “reply all” message.  The worms are created to recognize large distribution lists.
  • If anyone received a large number of redundant emails this week that appear to be sent from the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division, please delete them without reading.