The following email began to be spread in the latter days of February 2003,
reporting that the internet would stop on Monday 3 March, 2003. It is clear
that the email is nonsense – and it should be noted that no manufacturers or
individuals are named in the alert.
Sophos recommends users delete the email if they receive it, and do not pass
it onto their friends and colleagues.
Year 2003 Bug creates new panic as vulnerabilities exposed.
One of the largest manufacturers of networking equipment announced on Saturday
23rd February, that it has discovered a software bug that will cause
internetworking equipment to shutdown or malfunction early next month. The
event is triggered by the date 030303, and effects most switches and routers
purchased between April 2000 and October 2002. The company denies that this
problem was deliberately introduced as a result of sharp revenue decreases and
profit warnings in early 2000.
At this early stage, experts warn that known date problems are likely to affect
software applications over the next 50 years, with at least 25,000 known
software applications needing modification at a total cost of over US$80
The real main concern right at the moment is however, just how much of the
internet will be stopped on Monday 3rd, March. No one can predict how much and
how long the outage could be for. Even the experts have disagreed on the time
length, some saying 24 hours, others suggesting it could be until network
administrators patch the firmware.
The companies lawyers issued a statement on their web site asking all users and
administrators worldwide to backup their data prior to the 3rd March 2003.
Since this date is only a few days away, what better way to spread this
potential disaster than via email.
As one lawyer said in a media conference "If you receive the warning email,
backup your data and then, go on, forward the email. It may be the last email.
It may be the last email you send for quite a while."