The Conficker worm has generated a fair amount of buzz in the media recently. Today, April 1, was suppose to be the worm’s day of attack. As of this evening eastern standard time, the doomsday some were predicting as a result of the Conficker worm did not materialize. That doesn’t mean Conficker is a bust, however. The worm still did what was expected—it generated 50,000 domain names and started contacting them.
The Conficker virus has infected several million computers since November. It was programmed to seek new instructions beginning today. The hype over the programmed instructions led to speculation and reports stating Conficker could launch a massive cyber attack today.
The hype surrounding Conficker picked up in January after a self-proclaimed cabal formed to hunt down the virus’ creator. In February, Microsoft added to the hype when it offered a $250,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of the hackers behind Conficker.
Even though nothing dramatic happened today, AVG Technologies’ chief research officer Roger Thompson warned against blowing the worm off: “We expect that they have achieved their aim of building a fairly bullet-proof botnet, and will now simply farm it, which means they’ll probably harvest credit card numbers, bank accounts, and identities from as many victims as possible, and then do it all again,” he said.
The attention Conficker has generated may make it a bit harder for new computers to be infected, but the computers that have already been affected are still targets for malicious activity. There are detection tools available, but the worm attempts to fool administrators into thinking they are safe from the worm by deploying a fake Microsoft patch.
One of the main reasons Conficker has attracted so much attention is because of the sheer number of PCs infected by the worm. Although the exact number of compromised computers varies from one source to the next, the general consensus is that millions of computers are still infected with Conficker. Removal and detection tools as well as a patch for the Microsoft vulnerability targeted by Conficker are available.