Conficker flexes muscles, phones home
Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano
The internets number one virus Conficker, called home and sent its next set of updates to its global botnet.
Conficker’s botnet, which includes anywhere from 3 to 15 million PCs, has a peer to peer (P2P) feature that allows each PC on the network to talk to one another. Each PC has the ability to become the command server. This characteristic allows Conficker to fluidly update each PC on the network.
The latest variant shows that Conficker is updating via P2P, as opposed to pinging a website for its updates. This makes Conficker “self reliant.”
A botnet is a robot network of zombie computers under the control of a single leader. The concept behind a botnet is strength in numbers. Botnets can attack websites, send spam, and log data, which can lead to data breaches, credit card fraud and identity theft, and ultimately clog a network until it shuts down.
CNET reports that researchers have observed Conficker making its first update, which they believe to be a keystroke logger, a form of spyware designed to log usernames and passwords. This new update also tells the zombies to seek other PCs that have not been patched with Microsoft’s update. The worm also pings websites including MySpace.com, MSN.com, eBay.com, CNN.com and AOL.com in order to determine whether that PC has Internet access.
The Register reports that Conficker is now pinging what’s known as a Waledac domain, which contacts a new server if the current one is blacklisted by ISPs for spamming. This allows the virus to download more updates.
In 2007 and 2008, the Storm Worm was thought to have infected over 50 million PCs. Waledac is using the same technology as the Storm Worm,which means two things. First, this may get ugly fast. And second, whoever is controlling Waledac must be the same criminal hackers that built Storm Worm.
All this means that Conficker is about as dangerous as a virus can be, with the best of the best technologies, both old and new. While the virus has yet to strike, it is definitely gearing up.
Identity theft speaker Robert Siciliano discusses criminals using viruses to hack credit cards.
To protect yourself, be sure you have updated Internet security software, and consider an identity theft protection service.
I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information