W32.Conficker. . . Nada

An Illustration on how Conficker spreads

An Illustration on how Conficker spreads

So I spent much of last night researching this Conficker virus. I wanted to try and figure out how to prevent it and how to kill it. I figured there was so much hype about the fourth version of this nuisance it was worth looking in to.


It was very dramatic coverage on the part of CBS that got my attention, but as it would turn out any Windows  based computer that has performed a critical update since October 2008 would have been safe from this worm.

Essentially the bug exploited a flaw in the Windows framework that would give its creators use of a remote computer. It is then assumed that computer would be made into a drone that would forward spam, the worm or be an accessory to identity theft. According to an article by the Associated Press

The worm can take control of unsuspecting PCs running Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Tied together into a “botnet,” these PCs can be directed to send spam, carry out identity-theft scams and bring down Web sites by flooding them with traffic.

A botnet is simply a network of computers, located in different places around the world, that are brought together by a bug such as Conficker. Apparently, techs from various security companies dissected the code to find that the bug was going to “phone home” on April 1st. Essentially the worm is really only able to infect any computers that haven’t performed an update since October. . . namely pirated versions of Windows that get denied access to the Microsoft Update site.

Part of the hype was the concern that the bug could spread to. . . dare I say it. . .  USB flash drives and unsecured network shares. GASP. . . it does the exact same things as every other worm out there? I wonder. . . do these IT professionals and computer reporters realize that its called a worm for a reason. Maybe if we called it computer herpes they would get it.

The current symptoms of the bug here in the U.S. are currently a simple blockage of access to various security sites (Microsoft, Trend Micro, Symantec etc.) If you are experiencing these symptoms I recommend you try to clean it out yourself or call a qualified Windows professional (I recommend http://www.totalcomputersusa.com).

So in the end, if you are running an up to date virus scanner and have automatic updates enabled on your computer you are safe from this bug. What is scary is that such a simple measure apparently was not taken by CBS Networks. . . I wonder if they have any new job openings. . .  perhaps in the IT department?


~ by jrn320tmccarthy on April 1, 2009.

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