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Virus attacks hit U.S. media companies

U.S. media companies were hit by a wave of computer viruses in mid-August in a warning that demonstrated hackers have gained a dangerous advantage in speed in the battle over network security.

ABC news writers resorted to typewriters to prepare copy for the “World News Tonight” broadcast last Tuesday. ABC and other media companies, including The New York Times, reported disruptions. CNN, breaking into regular programming, reported on air that personal computers at the cable news network were affected by a worm that caused them to restart repeatedly.

Although damage was limited to several thousand computers at about 100 companies, security analysts told Reuters that the events of last week showed that code writers are accelerating the development of viruses as soon as weaknesses become apparent.

That sets up a race between media and broadcast technology managers who must update their systems and virus writers aiming to exploit holes before they are patched to fix a vulnerability.

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