Homeland Security Releases Conficker-Detection Tool

Dennis Faas's picture

The online world waits in dreaded anticipation as April 1st, the expected date of the full-blown Conficker worm (also known as DownAdUP worm), draws closer.

It's believed that Conficker has already infected millions of computers that run the Windows operating system. The worm is very resilient and is is programmed to steal data, generate spam attacks and turn vulnerable computers into "zombie machines" that comprise a larger "botnet" army controlled exclusively by hackers.

However, hackers have yet to give the worm any specific commands. The orders are expected to come at some point on April 1 (April Fool's) 2009.

What will happen on Wednesday?

Right now, Conficker is programmed to reach out to 250 websites daily to download commands from its master. On Wednesday, it will reach out to 50,000 websites for daily instructions! (Source: yahoo.com)

In response to international safety concerns, the US Department of Homeland Security has created a tool that is able to detect whether a computer is infected by the Conficker worm. The tool was developed by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

While only partial details have been released to the public, officials did announce that "DownAdUP" was unlike any other Conficker-detection tool, in that it is free to use and the most comprehensive version to date.

There is a catch, however. The tool is only available for important enterprises like federal and state government institutions and private sector networks. According to US-CERT, their main focus is to limit the cyber risks of the most critical networks in the nation first, before addressing the concerns of the average end-user.

What about the rest of us?

US-CERT has recommended that for the time being, users apply the Microsoft security patch MS08-067 to help provide additional protection against the worm. The patch is designed to prevent an attacker from assuming control of your infected computer system and installing additional malicious software. (Source: msn.com)

You can also download free tools from Microsoft and BitDefender which may be able to remove it.

Microsoft has also posted a $250,000 bounty for pertinent information concerning those responsible for the creation and implementation of the Conficker worm.

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