The Downadup Worm Threat
(2/2/09 Latest Information)
Over the years, there have been many viruses that has threaten people's computer throughout the entire world. And every once in a while, a new virus would appear that would cause a lot of worry. Unfortunately, there is one that has appeared today. It is known as the Downadup worm or the Conficker worm, and is considered a sleeper virus.
This new threat is so big, that CNN has made a big report about it, and lots of people from Microsoft and Online Security companies are all having lots of sleepless nights. The Downadup worm or the Conficker worm so far, only attacks the Microsoft Windows platform. In most cases, it attacks computers that are networked together, like offices and company networks.
First, let me explain what a sleeper virus is. A sleeper virus is a virus that stays in our computer and does nothing. While the fact that it does nothing might draw a few sighs of relief, there is much more to this threat. A virus that remains dormant in our computer and does nothing, means that it is that much harder for us to determine if he have it.
It makes detection that much harder as it appears that there is nothing wrong with our computer. The problem is that we don't expect it to stay dormant forever. Surely the creators of this new virus must have some purpose for creating it. And of course, the purpose will not be something that brings good news to us.
The Downadup worm or the Conficker worm is so complex, that so far, most people still have a hard time analyzing it and trying to understand what it is meant to do. But of course, there have been lots of new viruses over the past few years. SO what makes this sleeper virus so dangerous? The speed at which it spreads to other computers.
In the CNN interview with Mikko Hypponen, a Chief Research Officer at the famous Anti-Virus firm, F-Secure, explains that this new sleeper virus is one of the worst in recent history in terms of how fast it spreads. On the 28th of January 2009, there was a reported 2.5 million infected computers. By the 30th of January 2009, the numbers increased to 8 million!
In just three days, the Downadup worm or Conficker worm has spread to over 7.5 million computers. According to Mikko Hypponen, the numbers are expected to increase again. Although Microsoft has released a patch that will help fix the problem, as well as F-Secure releasing a removal tool to remove the sleeper virus, the number of infected computers are not decreasing.
In fact, the numbers are still increasing. The reason for this is because of how the Downadup worm or the Conficker worm spreads. It can immediately hide itself into any external memory devices and spread to other computers it comes in contact with. But the main reason why the numbers don't go down is because of the network that connects those computers together.
Even if you are able to remove that sleeper virus from almost 99% of the computers in the network, the computer with the sleeper virus still in it, will automatically seek out all the computers that are not infected, and infect it almost immediately. So the only way would be to shut down an entire network and slowly remove the virus from each computer.
So far, the only good news is that the Downadup worm or the Conficker worm, is still a sleeper virus. There has been no reports of any attacks as of yet. But apparently, it is only a matter of time before it does attack. Due to the complexity of the virus, people are still unaware what the virus will do once it awakens from its dormant state.
While this sleeper virus mainly targets computers on networks, there have been many reports of personal home computers being infected with it as well.
There is one unconfirmed way to check whether or not your computer has been infected by this virus. According to a few resources, it would appear that their computers that have been infected with the virus, blocks the user from accessing F-Secure's website. Please note that this is unconfirmed and being able to access the website doesn't guarantee that your computer is not infected.
To ensure that your computer is free from this sleeping virus, please ensure that your Microsoft Windows platform is constantly updated.
Download the latest Microsoft patch at Microsoft's website here
You can also download the latest removal tool from F-Secure to safely remove the worm from your computer.
Download the latest removal tool from F-Secure from the F-Secure website here
You can also read the original CNN interview with Mikko Hypponen
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