Are you ready for Conficker?

Are you ready for Conficker?

Summary: So tomorrow is April 1st and the sky will be falling shortly. We all know that the 4 forms of the Conficker worm are out there, ready to do something tomorrow that will probably be a pain in the butt at best and seriously disruptive at worst.

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So tomorrow is April 1st and the sky will be falling shortly. We all know that the 4 forms of the Conficker worm are out there, ready to do something tomorrow that will probably be a pain in the butt at best and seriously disruptive at worst.

Hopefully, for most of us in Ed Tech, this will be a non-issue. Any Windows computers patched after October 2008 should have the necessary tools to detect Conficker, most of us run more AV than the average home user and many sit behind a firewall with some sort of gateway anti-malware. A reasonable Mac and Linux presence in education doesn't hurt anything either, since these machines won't have a problem with the worm.

We do have a couple of vulnerabilities that many businesses don't, however. Too often, when it comes down to keeping aging computers and network equipment running, we overlook regular maintenance and patching, particularly on those computers that sit relatively hidden in classrooms or tucked into nooks by resourceful teachers.

Secondly, students and teachers bring laptops and portable drives back and forth from home (generally far less secure environments) very frequently and Conficker has been transmitted via USB drives. While some schools and universities have significant security in place around personal laptops, funding can certainly be an issue in getting comprehensive measures in place.

That being said, Microsoft has published quite a bit of help on Conficker. While I'm fairly confident that most of our systems will be OK, since the first sign of a Conficker infection may simply be an inability to access anti-malware updates, I figured I'd download the latest Malicious Software Removal Tools (that can handle Conficker) and have them sitting on my Mac just in case. Here are links to both the 64-bit and 32-bit removal tools:

64-bit download

32-bit download

Good luck and enjoy your April Fool's day. Feel free to talk back below with any problems you encounter.

Topics: Laptops, CXO, Hardware, Processors, Security

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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14 comments
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  • I was ready for it back in October

    You know, when MS released the patch for it?
    NonZealot
    • re: I was ready for it back in October

      We can now add you to the .85% ?

      90% more to go.

      ^o^
      <br>
      n0neXn0ne
      • Thanks for the totally invented statistic.

        Thanks for the totally invented statistic.

        Fail.
        CobraA1
    • Re: I was ready for it back in October

      Yep me too!
      JT82
  • Hey, it's 2000 all over again.

    I think the conficker worm will turn out to be a non-event. Only this time the security companies will make the bundle.
    kozmcrae
    • Haha I was thinking the very same thing this morning...

      ...so I sent an e-mail to my family & friends along the lines of "Don't panic, it the millennium bug all over again!"

      But yer, IMO the AV Vendors (both legit & fake) will be looking to make their yearly sales in a one quarter this year!
      DevJonny
  • Actually, from what I have seen

    Most home computers have the same level or BETTER security on them than most educational computers do.
    Lerianis
  • RE: Are you ready for Conficker?

    <sarcasm>What's conficker? Oh... another Windows problem.</sarcasm> ]:)
    Linux User 147560
  • Better be ready for April 23rd, too.....

    Because that's when the Jaunty Jackalope will hit the net: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/JauntyReleaseSchedule

    Have fun! :-)
    pjotr123
  • Scan your subnets with Nmap

    http://www.dtschmitz.com/dts/2009/03/scanning-for-conficker-with-nmap.html

    no_zd_user_name
    • Good idea but don't be disappointed when you find nothing

      http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/vulnerabilities/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=216402088&subSection=News

      [i]Somewhere between 1 million and 2 million computers are believed to be actively infected with the malware
      ...
      the largest number of infections (45%) are in Asia, followed by Europe (31%), South America (13.6%), and [b]North America (5.8%)[/b], with the remainder in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere.[/i]

      This means that out of the hundreds of millions of PCs in North America, only 50,000-100,000 of them are infected, or about 0.025% of North American computers. To put that into perspective, this is only slightly more than the percentage of Mac users who got hit by the OSX.Trojan.iServices.A malware earlier this year.

      So don't be sad if you don't find anything, there really isn't much out there to be found.
      NonZealot
      • I'd be disappointed if I didn't act responsibly by

        being proactive and getting the word out on this!
        no_zd_user_name
  • Yawn, yawn, yawn

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/vulnerabilities/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=216402088&subSection=News

    Juicy quotes:
    [i]"Conficker has activated," said Patrik Runald, chief security adviser at F-Secure, in a blog post on Tuesday. "[b]So far nothing has actually happened.[/b]"
    ...
    Somewhere between 1 million and 2 million computers are believed to be actively infected with the malware, down from almost 9 million in January.
    ...
    [b]But really, there's no reason that anyone's computer should still be infected[/b], given the variety of Conficker detection and removal tools out there.[/i]

    In other, more exciting news, grass grew and paint dried.
    NonZealot
  • Windows Experience worms/viruses/hackers ;)

    AWESOME - Only people who understand the insecure
    'Wormdows' OS is hackers & virus writers!

    I will say it over and over, it is true!

    :)

    ;)
    Christian_<><