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Monday, November 23, 2009


According to City Hall sources, Hartford's computer system has contracted a virus. This has rendered many of Hartford's in-house computers useless since Friday. One city hall source told me this afternoon "we haven't been able to do anything since Friday because of the virus".

Many city departments were at the payroll office today manually inputting employee payroll records since most that had been entered into the system were not able to be accessed in time to cut checks for this weeks deadline.

According to Hartford's Chief Information Officer Eric Jackson, a "worm" began infecting City computers last Wednesday and spread steadily last week and over the weekend. The "worm" apparently is resistant to anti-virus software and is what Jackson called "self replicating". The worm apparently also blocks paths to anti-virus websites to keep the updates required to remove or block the worm from being accessed.

Jackson said removing the worm is a "very manual intensive process". Efforts to remove the worm are ongoing. Jackson further said that no one using the city's website,, is in danger of contracting the "worm".


Anonymous said...

Mr. Jackson's spin on the latest MHIS mishap may have sounded convincing except that it overlooks most technical facts regarding the outbreak. The Conflictor worm has been out for years and the most virulent strain was set to infect machines on April fools day. Microsoft released a security patch in October 2008, yes-2008 to patch machines.

Although city computers appear to be secure and might even have updated virus protection, the layoff of all the lead technicians in 2008 and more in 2009 has lead to the city not having the experienced desktop engineering knowledge to see this viral trainwreck coming.

Nice job Mr. Jackson! Isn't there some training you could attend seeing that you aren't doing much for the city.

For more info see:

Anonymous said...

My friends in the city tell me the first they heard of the worm was on Friday when their computers dies a slow death. If the worm started on Wednesday why was their no communication with the city on the risk?

In 2005 the BOE (with 7000 computers) had a similar infection, had it contained same day and completely cleaned in two days. But that was different leadership.

I strongly disagree with the CIO's comments that there was no risk. How many emails were sent out with the worm as a payload? Someone at MHIS is asleep at the wheel.

Anonymous said...

This came out today:

I just want to thank everyone for their patience in dealing with the virus that infected our PC’s. It’s been a challenging couple of days and it certainly makes us realize how dependent we are on our computers. A lot of creativity was shown in figuring out how to continue to serve the public despite the situation.

I want to especially thank our valiant IT staff at MHIS – I think it’s pretty remarkable that they were able to get us all up and running again as quickly as they did – and it’s a tribute to their skill and expertise that our data was safe and secure throughout. I know they will continue to monitor the system and respond to any glitches that may still be out there.

Thank you everyone!!

Susan McMullen
Chief of Staff
City of Hartford
550 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103

What's amazing is that administration still values the effort to fix a problem more than efforts to avoid one. It's like they haven't learned, maybe never will.