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Old 14th May 2010, 09:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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An Amazing Look at the Conficker Worm.

The Conficker worm has been around for a couple of years. From the off, those working in the security sector knew it was an intricate piece of coding, but little did they know how advanced its developers were and still are.

I've just read an article about the history of Conficker and it blew my mind. I couldn't help but respect the coders behind it when I first heard about it - the way the worm worked was verging on the beautiful. Alas, I moved on and didn't really keep up with the news on Conficker. News channels don't tell you the advances different worms and viruses make with each new iteration. Even most of the big tech sites don't, so to finally learn how Conficker worked was an eye-opening experience.

It's slowly occurring to me that my real passion in Computer Science is algorithms - a well-coded algorithm gets me excited. My dissertation next year will hopefully be on self-assembling algorithms (algorithms inspired by biological self-assembling structures, such as DNA) so... yeah...

Conficker is... beautiful. It's a work of art. The methods it employs are incredibly clever and the minds behind it are geniuses; what I wouldn't give to pick them apart and see what else they know!

But I digress. The article is linked below. It's a very good read, and I strongly urge anyone with an interest or background in Computing to give it a look. I think even the "mundane" should skim through it, though their thoughts will be those of fear rather than admiration, I feel.

The Enemy Within - Magazine - The Atlantic

A quick fact - experts believe Conficker has infected between 9 million and 15 million computers. Either way, it has created the largest botnet in history... and it hasn't done anything. It might as well be benign... but the potential is there. Huge potential. In the worst case scenario, imagine what can be done with the computing power of fifteen million machines. The awesome power of so many machines. They could do just about anything.

DISCLAIMER: Don't take this thread as me condoning the worm. Ho no. I may be a computer scientist in love, but that doesn't mean I don't grasp the ethical connotations of the worm - it might not have done anything, but it should be thought of as terribly destructive, which is a very bad thing.
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Old 14th May 2010, 10:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: An Amazing Look at the Conficker Worm.

You've missed its most amazing achievement, Lenny: its ability to infect wetware....









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Old 14th May 2010, 10:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: An Amazing Look at the Conficker Worm.

The scary thing is, Conficker is actually fairly outdated. Despite the fact that so few people are capable of even understanding such a thing, much less writing it, there ARE people out there who can. And yes, despite the fact that Conficker did no discernable damage (excepting, perhaps, the Waledac thing) those machines still infected with it, and those that continue to get infected with it, may someday be made to cause worldshattering damage. And even if not, its writer(s) are sophisticated and skilled enough to write something just as bad, if not worse, that could quite possibly, once a machine has spread it outwards enough times, completely destroy its hard drive or server. Imagine such a thing slipping past the FBI servers, or the security servers of world banks. Cyberterrorism IS a threat out there, and Conficker was, I believe, just the tip of the iceburg of what can potentially be done. No security system is perfect, and each vulnerability, no matter how miniscule or deep down, can be exploited to unleash hell inside.
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Old 19th May 2010, 01:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: An Amazing Look at the Conficker Worm.

I work in an organisation with about 12 000 computer users and over 300 servers. We've been battling Conficker for over a year. Several of our Domain Controllers have malfunctioned and even crashed as a result. Our network gets congested and user accounts get locked out.

I wish the ingenuity that goes into creating a Conficker can be put to use creating something that benefits people, instead of causing so much stress, expense, loss of productivity and extra work.
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Old 27th May 2010, 01:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: An Amazing Look at the Conficker Worm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenny View Post
I couldn't help but respect the coders behind it when I first heard about it - the way the worm worked was verging on the beautiful. .
Sorry but I dont share that view. The people who code these things should be hung drawn and quartered!
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