A new computer worm called Downadup – also known as the Conficker worm – is spreading like wildfire across personal computers, even though it has only been on the scene for a relatively short time. First spotted just weeks ago, in November, the Downadup worm is estimated to already be resident on at least 3 1/2 million PCs.
In addition to taking advantage of computers that have not had the [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead] applied, the Downadup Conficker worm also will attempt to replicate itself on neighboring networked PCs through brute force password guessing attacks.
But most insidious – and what makes Downadup unique for at least the time being – is that it will attempt to call home every day to a variety of domains that have not yet been registered, but will be – just in time – by the hackers. This means that the domains can’t be detected and whacked because they don’t even exist until just moments before the Downadup worm is ready to connect to them to get their next payload of malware.
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Explains security firm F-Secure’s CFO, Mikko Hyppönen, “The bad guys only need to predetermine one possible domain for tomorrow, register it, and set up a website, and they then gain access to all of the infected machines — pretty clever.”
Sean Sullivan, another researcher at F-Secure, said that the estimate of 3.5 million infected PCs currently harbouring the Downadup worm was “a conservative estimate.”
This would be a very good time to run your anti-virus software and, if you are running Windows, to be sure that you have applied that [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead].
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