In a Microsoft press release a global bounty has been offered for the arrest and prosecution of whoever has created and released the “conficker” virus.
Conficker was released in the last quarter of 2008 and has infected a wide estimate of 2 million to 10 million PCs. After issuing patches, Microsoft estimates approximately 3 million PCs globally are still compromised.
However none of the PCs infected with the conficker are displaying any of the characteristics generally exhibited by the recent spate of viruses offering a remote control component and often used to host spoofed websites and other malicious fraud related activities.
Although, this virus is designed to constantly ping some 250 different domains that were most likely controlled by the criminal hackers that created it. The virus acts like any software calling home looking for an update, checking time/dates stamps and what version is running.
It is widely believed that conficker is waiting for its next set of updates to unleash the endgame its writers had in mind. BRILLIANT!
Many who study conficker as it phones home have been monitoring the 250 domains looking for the next “update”.
Each of these top level domains include .com, .net and .org. All of which fall under Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who heads up the domain registration industry. ICANNs rules prohibit such reserving of domains. ICANN then worked with registrars in heading off any future registration of conficker sought domains.
What has been out of the control of ICANN has been .ws and .cn (China) based domains and due to the ferocity of conficker and negocitions by ICANN, China and other global registrars have agreed to make it difficult for conficker to continue to control its 250 base domains or seek others along the string.
What we are seeing here is a global effort by international agency’s, security professionals from around the world and Microsoft working together to defeat an unknown attacker, that if left un-matched, could infect a significant portion of the worlds computers.
This story is not over.
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