BitDefender Releases Whitepaper: Conficker One Year After

December 2009

Conficker One Year After details how the Conficker worm has spread since 2008 and how it could become a bigger threat in 2010

BitDefender, an award-winning provider of innovative anti-malware security solutions announced today the release of Conficker One Year After, a whitepaper detailing the Conficker worms first appearance in November 2008, the damage it has done, and predictions on how it will spread in 2010. Conficker is a well-written piece of malware that has the potential to cause a lot of damage with the intelligent manner in which it updates itself. BitDefenders Conficker One Year After whitepaper also provides tips on how readers can keep their systems protected from the worm.

Conficker (a.k.a. Downadup or Kido) is a network worm that takes advantage of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows in order to spread. Its main purpose is to compromise as many machines as possible by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows RPC Server Service, described in the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067. The vulnerability allows a cybercriminal to remotely execute code onto an unprotected machine.

Since its inception, there have been numerous variants of the Conficker worm. Some variants use the exploitation of the Autorun function for removable drives and media (such as USB portable storage devices) to spread, while others take advantage of weak passwords to infiltrate networks. Another variant disables Microsoft Windows Update and blocks access to the majority of internet security vendor Web sites, which means users cannot access automatic or manual security updates.

Although Microsoft offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to the identities of the cybercriminals behind Conficker, the worm continues to wreak havoc. BitDefender researchers predict that Conficker will become an even bigger threat in 2010 by:

  • The corruption of defensive systems Conficker will completely neutralize defensive systems and will leave dangerous security internet breaches on user networks

  • Distributed denial of service By paralyzing computers over the Internet, Conficker will prevent the access to particular Web sites for extended periods of time

  • Pay-per-click system abuse and fraud Conficker will be used to visit specific Web sites and will automatically click on advertisement banners with the intent of obtaining information for financial gain

  • Key logging, traffic monitoring and mass identity theft Conficker, like many botnets, will be programmed to monitor keyboard activity and collect keystrokes to gain access to users personal information

  • Spamming Conficker will harvest e-mail addresses, which will be used to send a massive amounts of spam messages to other computers

To access BitDefenders Conficker One Year After whitepaper, please click here.

To listen to the Conficker One Year After podcast featuring BitDefenders Catalin Cosoi, please click here.

Cosoi provides listeners with tips for keeping their systems protected from Conficker and other malware threats. Cosois tips include:

  • Check with your operating system provider on a regular basis download and install the latest security updates, malware removal tools, as well as other patches or fixes

  • Update your antimalware, firewall and spam filter as frequent as possible, with the latest virus definitions and suspicious applications/files signatures

  • Install and activate a reliable password protected antimalware, firewall, spam filter and parental control solution

  • Scan your system frequently

  • Stay informed about e-threats and security breaches