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Computer Glitch wreaks havoc statewide

A glitch shut down computers in Lexington's city hall, the police department, school districts, hospitals-- as well as computers all over the country.

Many users were left frustrated with blue screens. The source of the problem was an update of a McAfee anti-virus program. By mistake, the software identified a Windows XP file -- as a virus and deleted it.

Computers control everything now, so a problem with our hardware can be paralyzing. Throughout Lexington, large organizations relied on contingency plans to get them through the day. Mayor Jim Newberry says the city's problems were limited to nonemergency functions like accounting and clerical work. "Our 911 functions do not appear to be impacted at all, and so people can still call 911 and still have someone answer the phone, and we can still dispatch police officers and firefighters as needed," Newberry said.

At UK Hospital, Dr. Carol Steltenkamp says the ER continued to treat the most critical patients, but doctors did need a brief break from treating less critical cases. "We asked that certain types of patients that don't need to be at the Level 1 trauma center be diverted elsewhere for a very short period of time," Steltenkamp said.

Similar to city government, Dr. Steltenkamp says the hospital's problems were limited to computer workstations. "None of the actual machines that are touching a patient were affected. However, the machines that sometimes we can send information and transmit information, those were the ones that were more affected."

The problems left many asking, what went wrong? "It's almost as if the anti-virus program is like your own immune system, and sometimes it identifies something safe as something dangerous, and that causes problems until you can figure that problem out," CNET senior editor Dan Ackerman said.

Computer experts say the fix can be a little complicated and recommend getting help from an IT professional. "Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be any damage from this bad anti-virus update, it just takes a little bit of elbow grease to fix," Ackerman said.

UK officials say as of Wednesday night computers in all their clinical areas are back to 100-percent. The mayor's office says late-night repairs to city computers were completed ahead of schedule. McAfee officials say the faulty update has been removed from all of their download servers.

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A problem with a popular anti-virus program gives computer users headaches around the globe today.

Here in Kentucky, it affected government offices, schools and law enforcement agencies.

The bug is keeping a vital windows file from opening which was shutting down computers all around the world.

We talked to one person who was working on the solution and says it make take a day or two before everything is restored.

The Bug was discovered early Wednesday Afternoon. The Hazard City Schools Network Administrator says problems were popping up all day with the network's computers.

“We received phone calls from them informing us that our machines would not boot up and some of them were shutting down without user intervention,” Johnathan Jones says.

Jones says the software found something he calls a false positive.

“The system thinks it's a virus but it's actually not,” Jones says. “Therefore the system tries to protect itself and in that process of protecting itself it quarantines certain system files windows needs to boot up.”

Jones then told teachers in the Hazard City School system to turn their computers off.

“We don't want to risk any further infection of the virus itself,” Jones says. “Again it's a false positive, it's not really a virus, but the system thinks it is.”

At the Kentucky State Police Post in Hazard, computers were not working either, but it was mainly just an inconvenience.

“The day to day operations of paperwork but not some of the essential functions like responding to calls the radios haven't been affected so everything is operational,” Capt. Scott Miller says.

“When stuff like this happens, we already have implemented backup plans in case the system here to go down completely but that's not the case,” Capt. Miller says.

This bug is affecting computers running Windows XP with the Service Pack Three.

The anti-virus software, McAfee detected the glitch which is causing these problems.

They have posted a replacement update for download.

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A massive computer glitch on a statewide network is causing problems for schools and law enforcement across Kentucky.
Kentucky State Police Lt. David Jude said Wednesday that state police personnel have been instructed to turn off computers while technicians try to resolve the problem. Jude says the problem has not interrupted the ability of state police to respond to complaints.
Lexington Police spokesperson Sherelle Roberts says the glitch is also impacting Lexington Police. The mayor ordered the city's computers shut down this afternoon, but said around 5:30pm that email and the city's website was back up. The mayor contends police, fire and E911 systems are functioning normally, as are traffic computers. City technicians have identified a fix, but each computer will have to be fixed individually. A news release from the city says about 125 city computers are directly impacted.
Kentucky Education Department spokeswoman Lisa Gross says the glitch is affecting school districts across the state. She says it occurred when the security software, McAfee, distributed a security update that apparently corrupted computer systems. McAfee Inc. confirmed a software update caused its anti-virus program for corporate customers to misidentify a harmless file.
Late Wednesday afternoon the state received a temporary fix. Technology staff in all 174 school districts have been provided with the temporary fix. Gross says the Education Department is still actively working with McAfee to find a long-term solution.

The problem has impacted the following services:
*The Fayette County Detention Center will not have visitation tonight from 6pm to 10pm.
*No permits will be processed in Lexington.
*Non-emergency public safety functions will be delayed.
*No on-line registration for parks facilities can be processed.


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