SMS alerts IT pros to Blaster

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Australian IT professionals received their first critical security alert via SMS from Microsoft when the Blaster worm hit Australia yesterday.

The new SMS alert -- announced by the vendor at its Tech.Ed 2003 conference in Brisbane this week -- advises IT professionals who have signed up to the service when there is an alert Microsoft rates as 'critical'.

Derek Kerr, technical community manager for Australia at Microsoft, said that the concept was the result of a discussion at a CIO forum two months ago, where some participants commented that they had difficulty getting information during the Slammer outbreak because of network congestion.

Kerr said that the Blaster worm SMS alert gave recipients a link back to a Website where there was a patch available. 'It's another mechanism to get information to people,' he said.

So far Microsoft had 700 people signed up to the opt-in service, and Kerr hoped that that number would grow to 20,000 - 30,000 as more people became aware of the availability of the alert.

He said that the vendor planned to roll out the service worldwide. According to Kerr, future extension to the SMS alert service could include a phone number people could dial to hear a message providing information about alerts issued.

Vivienne Fisher travelled to Tech.Ed 2003 courtesy of Microsoft.

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