CNN reported late Tuesday that a worm had hit computers in its newsroom, those at rivals ABC and the New York Times, some on Capitol Hill, and machines in Europe and Asia. Experts assumed that it was the Zotob bot worm, or one of the other bots that exploit last week's Plug and Play vulnerability on Windows 2000 machines.
CNN took the attack seriously, with reporter/anchor Wolf Blitzer at times highlighting the malware in a "Breaking News" segment. Blitzer showed video of a PC repeatedly rebooting, and warned viewers to back up all data and even to shut down their computers.
The story continued to get play on CNN's cable shows throughout the late afternoon as a "Developing Story" touted by anchors Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn.
But Chris Carboni, a handler with the SANS Internet Storm Center (ISC), urged calm. "Likely this is an isolated event, which became newsworthy because CNN got infected," Carboni wrote on the ISC's threat thread.
"We do not see any new threats at this point. Zotob keeps mutating and finding new victims. As seen with prior TCP worms, it's reaching its peak around three days after the outbreak."