Feeds

Countdown to Conficker activation begins

A superbotnet will rise

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Defcon

Conficker infections have been detected in more than 80 countries with Spain, the USA, Taiwan and Brazil most hit, according to anti-virus firm Panda Security. One in 14 (six per cent) of 2m machines submitted to Panda’s online scanner are affected by the worm. This, of course, represents a sample of PCs where the owners have reason to think something might be wrong and so may not be representative of the internet at large. Nonetheless, it’s a huge figure.

The worm is confirmed to have hit a Sheffield hospital and is suspected of infecting UK Ministry of Defence systems, including local area networks on warships. Security watchers reckon that the more open nature of public-facing organisations explains why these attacks have hit the press. There’s no reason to suspect that private sector firms are any better protected against such attacks, as previous worm spreads have demonstrated time and again.

Few clues have emerged as to the identity of the authors of the worm. Sometimes code samples used by an item of malware bear the hallmarks of a particular virus writing gang, but no such evidence has materialised over the Conficker worm as yet. One of the few pointers is an observation by Panda Security that the infection originated in China a few weeks ago.

The Conficker worm is programmed to constantly update itself. The malware is designed to download new code onto infected machines through a large number of different and changing IP addresses, making it difficult to block.

“This is an indication that the worm authors are preparing to carry out a large scale attack in the near future using the infected machines,” said Dominic Hoskins, Country Manager, Panda Security UK.

Paul Wood, senior analyst at online security firm MessageLabs, which recently became part of Symantec, confirmed that Conficker is yet to be activated to send spam. “We’ve seen nothing directly from all these infections in terms of spam runs or denial of service attacks,” Wood told El Reg.

“The countries most affected by Conficker have a high percentage of pirated windows users, who may not be entitled to apply Microsoft’s patch. This could be a factor in the spread of the worm.” ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, watchdog claims
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.