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Conficker smites Oxford Brookes network

Former polytechnic gets pwned

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Conficker infected communal PCs used by students at Oxford Brookes University on Thursday, leaving sysadmins with a difficult clean-up job.

A statement (extract below) by the University explains that the attack affected desktops and servers, prompting a decision to temporarily suspend student access to pooled computer rooms while an ongoing clean-up operation sorts out the mess. The outbreak also affected network services.

There has been a sustained and significant virus attack on the Brookes network. We are presently working to counteract it but this may result in unpredictable disruption to network services. A version of the Conficker virus was involved.

Servers and desktop PCs have been affected, including the pooled computer room PCs which were shutdown yesterday evening (1 October) until this morning.

The University is asking members of staff to check their machines for infection. The number of PCs affected by the attack, and when services are likely to be fully restored, were unclear at time of writing.

The college of learning's malware problems are another reminder that the Conficker mega-worm remains active. Although the botnet the established by the worm has never been activated as many as six million systems or more remain infected by the malware, according to figures from the Conficker Working Group.

Recent incidents of Conficker infection include Ealing council, Manchester City Council and Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust. Further back, the Houses of Parliament and Ministry of Defence were also hit by the worm. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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