- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The weekend attack on the Internet crippled some sensitive corporate and government systems, including banking operations and 911 centers, far more seriously than many experts thought possible.
The nation's largest residential mortgage firm, Countrywide Financial Corp., told customers who called yesterday that it was still recovering from the attack. Its Web site, where customers usually can make payments and check their loans, was closed with a note about "emergency maintenance."
Police and fire dispatchers outside Seattle resorted to paper and pencil for hours Saturday after the viruslike attack disrupted operations for the 911 center that serves two suburban police departments and at least 14 fire departments.
American Express Co. confirmed that customers couldn't reach its Web site to check credit statements and account balances during parts of the weekend.
Perhaps most surprising, the attack prevented many customers of Bank of America Corp., one of the largest U.S. banks, and some large Canadian banks from withdrawing money from automated teller machines Saturday.
President Bush's No. 2 cyber-security adviser, Howard Schmidt, acknowledged yesterday that what he called "collateral damage" stunned even experts who have warned about uncertain effects on the nation's most important electronic systems from mass-scale Internet disruptions.
"One would not have expected a request for bandwidth would have affected the ATM network," he said. "This is one of the things we've been talking about for a long time, getting a handle on interdependencies and cascading effects."

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