New Conficker Variant More Aggressive

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Conficker has gotten quite a lot of news recently with it growing so fast and Microsoft offering a bounty for the authors.

It seems like the Conficker authors are really serious about retaining control of their botnet and expanding it further without hindrance from the companies trying to stop them.

It’s quite likely they are netting some serious cash from the network of infected computers, with estimates at over 10 million now that’s a large collection of computers for brute forcing, e-mail spam or DDoS attacks.

The authors of the latest variant of the Conficker worm are upping the ante against security vendors who are working to stop the spread and threat of the persistent program.

Conficker.C shuts down security services, blocks computers from connecting to security Web sites, and downloads a Trojan. It also is programmed to begin connecting to 50,000 different domains on April 1 to receive updated copies or other malware, as opposed to connecting to 250 domains a day as previous versions are doing, Ben Greenbaum, senior research manager for Symantec Security Response, said on Friday.

The authors of the code are “strengthening their hold on their collection of infected machines at the same time they are attempting to strengthen their ability to control those machines by moving to 50,000 domains,” he said.

A self-described “cabal” of companies, including Microsoft, Symantec, and a host of domain registration providers, have been trying to thwart the efforts of Conficker by pre-registering and locking up the domain names being used by the worm to distribute updates.

They are getting sneaky now, targeting security software and services on an infected PC and blocking it from accessing related sites that could help a user fix the infection.

Plus they have expanded their ‘update’ domains to 50,000 – which will take a huge effort to get all of the domains blocked.

I wonder what the next step will be in protecting again this?

Now that Conficker.C is targeting 50,000 domains, the group has its work cut out for it, Greenbaum said. Regardless, “it’s unknown at this point whether (boosting the domains) is an effective sidestep around the cabal’s actions,” he said.

The worm, also called Kido or Downadup, was first detected in November and is believed to have infected more than 10,000 computers. The first two versions exploit a vulnerability that Microsoft patched in October.

The second variant, Conficker.B, was detected last month. It added the ability to spread through network shares and via removable storage devices, like USB drives, through the AutoRun function in Windows.

Among the domains targeted by Conficker was that of Southwest Airlines, which was expected to see an increase in traffic from the botnet on Friday, Sophos said last week. However, a Southwest spokesman said there had been no impact to the site from any additional traffic as a result of Conficker.

I hope this stays as just Conficker, if there’s another large scale breakout we might be in trouble again. There is a way to remove it though, so if you know anyone that has managed to get themselves infected you can give them the below links:

Source: Cnet (Thanks Navin)

Posted in: Malware, Spammers & Scammers

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2 Responses to New Conficker Variant More Aggressive

  1. navin March 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    cheers!! :)

  2. James March 24, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    Hi,

    Good article. Sophos’ Conficker removal tool can detect and remove all variants of the worm/virus.

    As long as people run these tools it should stop any serious outbreak.

    James