On the technical side 04-07-2009
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On the technical side 04-07-2009

Conficker, a lot of nothing?


April first came and went without a computer  meltdown. The media warned of a possible computer meltdown but nothing happened. Was there really a problem?


It is estimated that the Conficker virus infects 10 million systems around the world. Many of the infected systems are outside of the US. Why are most of the infected systems outside of the US?


The common belief is that many of the systems are using pirated versions of Microsoft software. Pirated Microsoft software does not update properly and will not be protected from virus attacks.


You have to wonder how Microsoft should handle this problem. If someone steals software, should Microsoft allow the thief to upgrade stolen software? Hackers take software and modify it to get around the licensing requirements. If the hacked software requests updates, Microsoft refuses to allow updates. It seems simple, if the software is stolen, don't update it but a hacked system can be a problem waiting to happen. When a hacker modifies the operating system and allows others to download it, who knows what nasties could be built into the software. If you want to use Microsoft products buy them from a reputable source. Linux is a good legal and free alternative to Microsoft software


April first has already come and gone. Conficker isn't a problem any more, is it? WRONG!

A conficker infected system is a bomb waiting to explode. It just needs the command from conficker central. The conficker worm will accept commands to download a new program that could do anything. It could have been an April Fools joke but it could be something on any day.


The good news is that a reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the conficker developer. You can be sure that when conficker tries to take over systems, network traffic will be traced. Someone is going to have some explaining to do when the conficker is launched and traced.


Recent proposed legislation contains a new presidential power. President Obama will have the power to disconnect computers from the Internet in the event of a network crisis. This power could be abused but can you imagine what could happen in the event of a cyber attack? An infected computer could be used to generate continuous network traffic and jam the network. It would be similar to an off hook phone. You can't use the phone until you hang up the off hook phone. Imagine trying to find an off hook phone when you have hundreds or thousands of phones.


Conficker isn't dead and could make an unpleasant appearance in the future.

Keep your virus scanner and Windows software up to date.


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