25 Jan 2011

Conficker worm may have met its match

Millions of computers remain infected with the Conficker worm, but there may be a breakthrough in the battle to stop it.

In a report released by a group of computer security researchers, the worm has been neutralized. The group says it was able to block the worm’s ability to communicate with its creator, who still may be able to activate a massive network of infected computers.

Despite the recent results, it is estimated that between 5 and 15 million computers are still infected with the worm. The creator of the worm remains unknown, years after the virus first appeared online. The Conficker worm first appeared in 2008, and researchers have spent years trying to combat it.

"The operation was a complete success, but the patient died," said Rodney Joffe, chairman of the working group and chief technologist of Neustar. "It is a really sophisticated weapons system.”

Joffe urges the U.S. government to engage the private sector on cyber security issues, since government infrastructure are not defended by the government. Back in May, the U.S. Department of Defense did launch Cyber Command, to coordinate offensive and defensive cyber activities.