Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Confickers rise and fall and the passing activity of the worm on April 1st has allowed researchers and anti-virus companies to better understand the virus and its impact. While April Fools was to be a day of reckoning for Conficker, it was and still isn’t a joke.

Viruses often come with a trigger date as pointed out by CNET. And while many trigger don’t meet the hype of their media cred, they still can and often do cause millions or billions in damage.

The media does what it does and reports on the news. While they or even I may not always get the facts straight, the impetus is still there.

CNET further observed in a spoof on the media frenzy, Wired ran a humorous fake live blog from the “Conficker Worm War Room” and pointed out that “The New York Times called it an ‘unthinkable disaster’ in the making. CBS’s 60 60minutes1 Minutes said the worm could ‘disrupt the entire internet,’ and The Guardian warned that it might be a ‘deadly threat.'”

What good all this hype does is bring attention to an on going problem to an audience that never considered themselves vulnerable to these issues. In my world even Facebook friends and Twitter followers who twitter1 had never reacted to previous posts on a plethora of IT and personal security issues are now asking the right questions.

Your “Moms” virus as we knew it has now jumped the shark and is a part of popular culture. This in a sense is a good thing, because it’s now water cooler talk on the same level of buzz as Britney Spears going nutty. We in the security community couldn’t ask for more and better attention that may enlist an army of security moms. Thank you Conficker!

Still Conficker is the most sophisticated virus to date and is simply waiting to strike which can very well lead to major data breaches and identity theft.

As the virus continues to call home for the yet delivered update, researchers have determined an estimated 3.5 to 4 million PCs infected on the Conficker botnet, which is the most powerful and dangerous aspect of Conficker.

However over all totals of computers globally infected may still be between 10 and 15 million. Many of those have a dormant virus that may have the capability to wreak havoc or have been rendered impotent by anti virus providers and IT administrators who have taken advantage of numerous solutions by McAfee and others.

What the public needs to understand is this infection is anything but over. The virus phones home every day looking for its next updates that still could have catastrophic results if it ever reaches its full potential.

The risk here is that a virus of this kind has technology to disable anti-virus and prevents access to numerous websites that automatically provide security updates including Windows update.

Today Brian Krebs from the Washington Post points out the similarity’s to Y2K potential bug as I did last week “In one sense, the response to Conficker could be compared to that of Y2K: A great deal of smart people threw a whole lot of resources and y2k energy at a fairly complex problem and managed to turn a potentially very ugly situation into a relative non-event.

The attention that Conficker has brought upon itself rallied security professionals to be on their highest guard which is exactly where they should be.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing hacking for dollars here

I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out Uniball.com for more information.

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