Recently, some of the best security minds in the world have started joining forces to fight an evil called the Conficker Worm. The Conficker Worm is a computer virus that targets a flaw in Microsoft’s operating system and then spreads rapidly through other computers connected to the same network.
To date the Conficker virus has infected at least 5 million computers. After the virus infects the computers, the hacker can control the computer systems and transform the systems in to a “botnet army.” The botnet army can be used to syphon banking information or to flood government servers knocking them off line. In July, Conficker knocked out parts of Manchester City Council’s IT system costing the council £1.5 million in total. Similarly in January, the French Navy had to quarantine its computer network after it was infected with Conficker. This forced aircrafts at several air bases to stay grounded.
Rodney Joffe, a director of the Conficker Working Group stated “The general agreement in the security world is that Conficker is the largest threat facing us from a cyber crime point of view… it has proven to be extremely resilient. It’s almost impossible to remove…. The best minds in the world have not managed to crack the code behind this yet.”
Microsoft is offering a $250,000 reward to anyone who can give them information concerning the group or rogue government responsible for the virus. Joffe also continues to warn that, “Even a small portion of the infected machines from Conficker have the ability to actually take away the usability of the Internet in an entire country like Australia.”
According to Joffe, people who have the latest Microsoft patches, updates, and security software should be safe. However he admitted that it is rare for the average person to have all of the necessary patches and updates. As of right now the government knows of about 5 million different computers infected with the worm, and Joffe is convinced that the Conficker worm is just biding its time until things cool down.
“We’re some ways away from being able to take any action, which is what is really concerning us.”
For those curious minds out there, the Conficker virus does not infect Macs, yet.
(Via The Age)