Municipal Court Will Stay Closed Even Longer Because Of Computer Virus

That computer virus that infected the Houston Municipal Courts is turning out to be one bad-ass bug.

Court officials had expected to reopen tomorrow after IT guys worked OT on the virus, which hit Friday afternoon. By late that day the courts announced the virus had been isolated to about 475 of the courts' 16,000 computers.

Now, courts spokeswoman Gwendolyn Goins tells the Houston Chronicle, the courts won't reopen until Thursday.

(We have our own message in to Goins, but figured we should post this ASAP for all of you traffic-court victims.)

The virus has been determined to be a new variant of Virut. Which is [computer-geek gobbledegook and jargon which I'm cut-and-pasting as if I -- or you -- can understand it.]

Okay, you want the actual gobbedegook? Try this: "Virut is a polymorphic file infector with some additional features. It spreads all around the drive and infects even files infected by another virus previously. The only symptoms are a strange HDD activity while infecting, and also unwanted TCP traffic. Virut tries to connect you into an IRC network under the user name "Virtu" and zombify you. Unfortunately, the cleaning of this virus is very difficult or almost impossible."

While we like the word "zombify" a lot, we're leery of having to get past "polymorphic file infector" and HDD and TCP to get to it.

All we know is, if you were going to court to fight one of the many, many tickets HPD seems to be handing out lately, you're not going anytime soon.

And when you do head back, expect the recovery and the making up of lost court dates to be done in an amazingly smooth manner, if you're living in Opposite World. If you're dealing with the Houston municipal courts, on the other hand, bring a big, thick book to while away the hours.

We're told you can still pay fines online if you're not fighting the ticket -- and when we did so recently, it seemed to take us to a computer system outside of the municipal court's. So maybe you can trust it.

Then again.....

-- Richard Connelly

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