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Authorities say Texan infected computers

Thursday, June 14, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Azam Ahmed

A Texas man was charged with computer fraud in federal court for allegedly infecting computers at hospitals and clinics owned by Cook County as well as thousands of other computers around the world, the FBI said Wednesday.

The two-count indictment in Chicago against James C. Brewer, 23, of Arlington, Texas, alleged that the virus-infected computers caused a significant delay in Cook County providing medical services.
The computer virus affected about 800 computers and took more than 2,000 hours to fix, said Ibis Antongiorgi, a spokeswoman for County Board President Todd Stroger.

"We have the most updated protection now, and we're being extra-vigilant in preventing unauthorized users from accessing our networks," Antongiorgi said.

More than 10,000 computers were infected by Brewer worldwide, authorities alleged. Among them were computers at Stroger Hospital, Provident, Hospital, Oak Forest Hospital and Cook County Jail's Cermak Health Services, Antongiorgi said. Brewer allegedly created computer hacker programs, called "bots," that were implanted into computers without the owners' knowledge and allowed him to take control of the computers.

"The bots caused the infected computers to, among other things, repeatedly freeze or reboot without notice, thereby causing significant delays in the provision of medical services and access to data" by the county Bureau of Health Services, the indictment said.



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