Over the past few months, I’ve been writing a lot about cyber crime and security vulnerabilities, especially as it impacts social media and blogs. The April 1, 2009, expansion of the Conficker/Downadup Worm Infection worried many as the 1 in 16 ratio of infected computers increased dramatically around the globe and attacks were aimed at social media services like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
As a quick update from the information in Downadup Worm Infection: Cyber Attacks on the Rise in 2009 and Security and Hacking: Protect Thyself and Thy WordPress Blog concerning the still spreading Downadup worm, ComputerWorld and others are reporting that the Downadup worm now infects 1 in every 16 PCs for an estimated current total of over 9 million infections.
It now has its own Wikipedia page called Conficker as the worm is also known as Downup, Downadup, Conficker, and Kido.
According to the Wikipedia article, the computer work first appeared in October 2008 but spread fast after the first of the year. It specifically targets Microsoft Windows and Windows Server services using Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. It has infected a few governments and hospitals, but mostly corporate computer networks.
On October 15, 2008 Microsoft released a patch to fix the bug. Heise Online estimated that it had infected 2.5 million PCs by January 15, 2009, while The Guardian estimated 3.5 million infected PCs. By January 16, 2009, an antivirus software vendor reported that Conficker had infected almost 9 million PCs making it one of the most widespread infections in recent times. Conficker is reported to be one of the largest botnets created because 30 percent of Windows computers do not have a Microsoft Windows patch released in October 2008.
The virus can spread through websites and USB drives, like flash drives, cameras, portable hard drives, and other USB connecting devices that trigger AutoRun, so Microsoft is recommending people upgrade their Windows programs and turn off AutoRun. [Read more…]