A transatlantic computer virus has been blamed for crippling Internet traffic across the UK, experts said today.
Businesses reported problems with the Internet early this morning but the origin of the virus, dubbed W32/SQLSlammer, is still unknown.
The virus has been likened to the Code Red bug which attacked computers across the world in 2001. It is believed to attack through a flaw in the Microsoft database software SQL Server.
Stephen Beddow, marketing director of COLT, a voice data and Internet service provider for businesses, said: “An alarm started flashing at about 8.30am to suggest that some sort of virus is proliferating traffic across the IT networks.
“It looks as though the virus causes the normal volume of traffic on networks to multiply, beyond what you would normally expect to see.
“That has to have an impact. It slows the Internet down. The virus seems to cause the network to replicate itself, which causes serious quality issues.”
He added: “We are trying to stem the tidal flow of traffic and then I’m sure some sort of post-mortem will take place.
“We don’t have a clear idea yet as to the origin of the virus or the object or target of the attack.”
Gerard Bithell, BT spokesman, said the virus was called W32/SQLSlammer.
He said: “The virus seems to be affecting the States and South Korea.
“It could also be slowing down traffic in the UK and the rest of Europe.
“We have a lot of safeguards in the form of anti-virus software and we’re pretty sure they will be effective.”