Conficker, also known as Downup, Downadup and Kido, is a computer worm that surfaced in October 2008 and targets the Microsoft Windows operating system. A report on the CBS News program 60 Minutes examines the Internet computer worm.
It’s one of the most dangerous threats ever, says Symantec, the company that makes Norton antivirus software. It is spreading through the Internet and some estimate 10 million computers have been infected worldwide.
With one click, the worm’s creator can instruct it to suck sensitive data, like bank passwords and account numbers, out of millions of computers, or launch a massive spam attack to clog up the works. The newest targets of worms are social networking sites.
Conficker time bomb ticks, but don’t expect boom, says C/Net. Still, Conficker investigators have been talking about an April Fool’s attack, because in dissecting the worm, they can see it’s been programmed to receive new instructions on April 1. But nobody knows if the instructions will be benign, or something that could disrupt the entire Internet.
Meanwhile John Markoff has more on A Vast Spy System that Loots Computers in 103 Countries. It has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama. Canadian researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved. The newly reported spying operation is by far the largest to come to light in terms of countries affected.
Intelligence analysts say many governments, including those of China, Russia and the United States, and other parties use sophisticated computer programs to covertly gather information. The 53-page report, released on Sunday, provides evidence of the efforts of politically-motivated hackers while raising questions about their ties with government-sanctioned cyberspying operations.