April Fool’s Day – Conficker hot topic…

While enjoying lunch today with my parents my Mother asked me if I knew about the Conficker worm.  I nearly fell off my chair and was thinking; “Mom is becoming a techie?”.

Conficker

Sometime back I did (3)-three posts on the Conficker worm:

Worm Bounty Set By Microsoft ($250,000)

Downadup (aka: Conficker, Kido) is using AutoRun
to spread “like a can of worms”…

Is your system infected by the Downadup Worm, Conficker or Kido?

I found that Mom had been following the news on the Conficker worm on one of the national TV networks. The news media is taking Conficker and really running with it. Remember hot news keeps an audience. Create a panic and they will come… Too bad they do not carry special “daily” segments on the other security threats on the internet where people are having their money and privacy taken away.

To keep you up to date, the Conficker worm virus, which has literally baffled the IT experts, has infected over 10 million PC’s worldwide since November 2008  The conficker worm takes advantage of a vulnerability in Windows that Microsoft patched back in October 2008. If your PC is patched, then do not worry.

The April 1st threat (or any date for that matter) is speculation that the network of computers, already infected by the Conficker program, will start scanning thousands of websites for a new set of malicious instructions. In essence, these computers would become part of a network of robots (called a botnet) that would execute the instructions, once received. For example, if instruction were received by 10 million computers to attack (flood with data), specific websites, it could bring the sites down and even affect the integrity of the internet.

As always, keep the software on your computer up to date; especially your Window’s updates and your system security software.

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9 Responses to April Fool’s Day – Conficker hot topic…

  1. techpaul says:

    I would just like to add for your readers, unless they deliberately turned off the Automatic Update feature, their machines were “inoculated” against this long ago.

    It is the professional IT staffers at various businesses (organizations) who have left their networks vulnerable {Tech Paul humbly declines to express his opinions on that here.. ahem} and so it is most likely at your ‘workstation’ where you might bump into Mr. Conficker (aka Downadup).

    Be aware – however – that this worm can spread via USB.. so if you take files on a thumbdrive back and forth to work, you could carry this nasty home with you.
    A practice you might want to .. postpone until you have verified that your work network is “clean” and protected.

  2. whatsonmypc says:

    TechPaul,

    Thank you for pointing this out… As we have seen and heard, many networks were left vulnerable.

    Was shocked when Mom started talking about it though (LOL)…

    Rick

  3. techpaul says:

    Yes, a story (mostly false) got out that some Parliament had some computers infected, and then 60 Minutes started a series..

    As you so truthfully stated, “Remember hot news keeps an audience. Create a panic and they will come…”

    I try very hard to be an optimistic sort, so maybe the ‘unintended consequence’ of all this will be that folks, like your Ma, (who don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about malware) will maybe have their consciousness raised just a bit and be more paranoid about suspicious e-mails, etc..

  4. Rarst says:

    Biggest issue with virus in question is raising hell in corporate networks and making admins work.

    Other than nasty issues in LANs it is pretty generic stuff. :)

    I am so waiting for when botnets run out of unsecured computers and start preying on each other. Maybe it would kick me to Linux some day…

  5. whatsonmypc says:

    Admins should have been on top of this back in October when the patch was release by MS… Nice one Rarst about the botnets preying on each other.

    Thanks for your comments…

  6. whatsonmypc says:

    TechPaul,

    Was at the dentist and the chit chat, while I’m in the chair, is the Conficker news… (LOL).

    I’m like you, hoping it raises the consciousness of people and educates…

    Rick

  7. Rarst says:

    @Rick

    Educating people doesn’t work, otherwise we would get somewhere with that in last decade. :)

    I wrote post yesterday praising old excellent article on dumbest computer security ideas and educating users is one of those unfortunately.

  8. whatsonmypc says:

    Rarst,

    You know, I have to agree with you, to a certain degree. What I am finding is that a larger majority and I’m talking 90 percent or better of people do not have a good “basic” understanding of PC’s… It is an inconvenience for most people to do anything extra on their PC’s, such as maintaining backups, security updates, etc… So they just don’t do it…

    I will definitely check out your article. I am sure it is top notch…

    Rick

  9. techpaul says:

    Rarst–
    I have to agree – largely – with the fact that user education has and will continue to fail. It is a maxim in the ‘security biz’ that “the weakest link in the security chain is the end user”.
    People do not have the time or the inclination to learn about machines just so that they can check their e-mail or watch a video on YouTube.
    Statistics show that – after decades of mass awareness programs – a rather large percentage of people continue to click on hyperlinks and open attachments in spam, for example.
    However, statistics also show that companies that have clearly defined Use Policies (and enforce those policies) and hold regular employee training seminars re those policies, suffer far fewer breaches and data loss.

    How would the average person know that there’s such a thing as “rogue” antivirus unless they get hit by one?
    Answer: somebody has to tell them (aka “educate them”)

    User education is not enough, but it is an essential part of any solution.

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