Security experts have joined forces to hunt down the Conficker C computer worm and prevent it from damaging millions of computers on April Fool’s Day. They are motivated in part by a $250,000 bounty from Microsoft for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible hacker(s).
“We love catching bad guys,” said Alvin Estevez, CEO of Enigma Software Group, one of many companies trying to break the Conficker virus. “We’re like former hackers who like to catch other hackers. To us, we get almost a feather in our cap to be able to knock out that worm. We slap each other five when we’re killing those infections.”
The malicious Conficker program has already infected between 5 million and 10 million computers. Those infections haven’t caused many problems yet, but according to the virus code, a master computer is scheduled to gain control of infected machines on April 1.
What happens then is anyone’s guess. The program could delete files on infected computers, orchestrate denial-of-service attacks to shut down websites, or monitor a person’s keystrokes to steal private information like passwords and bank account numbers. Experts say computer hackers have mostly migrated from computer vandalism and now focus on making money. Some security researchers say the Conficker worm will go the way of the Y2K millennium bug, in other words, no big deal.
If your computer did not receive automatic Windows updates in March, it may be infected. Windows users can also visit http://safety.live.com to scan their PC. You should also check your antivirus software to ensure it has received the latest updates, which could have been disabled by Conficker C.
Article published on March 26, 2009
|If you like this article, please share it:|