Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/9/2009
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Conficker Worm Arms Itself To Steal And Spam

The new variant, designated Conficker.E, is arriving through the worm's P2P connectivity.

The Conficker/Downadup worm is on the move again. After a relatively uneventful April 1, on which the worm began widening the number of Web sites that it scanned for instructions, a new Conficker variant has emerged and appears to be preparing to spam and steal information.

Symantec said the new Conficker/Downadup variant .E is designed to update version .C rather than the first-generation .A variant.

“In actuality, the primary objective is to update .C with the new features discussed during the briefing and drop Waledac binary onto the .C infected machines,” a company spokesperson said in an e-mail.

Not every security company agrees the malicious code being detected belongs to Conficker. Bkis, a security research firm based in Vietnam, said Thursday that the malware Trend Micro identified is associated with the Waledac worm.

Weafer, however, argues that not all honeypots -- the machines used to collect malware samples -- contain the same samples.

The Conficker/Downadup worm was designed initially to exploit a Microsoft Windows vulnerability that was patched (MS08-067) last October. Since then, it has been updated several times. It now is capable of multiple attack vectors, including USB devices and brute-force password guessing. It also uses various advanced techniques to escape detection and to maintain its command-and-control channel, including a pseudo-random algorithm for generating the domains it uses to receive commands.

Somewhere between 1 million and 2 million computers are believed to be actively infected with the malware, down from almost 9 million in January. According to IBM ISS Managed Security Services, the highest number of infections are in Asia (45%), followed by Europe (31%), South America (13.6%), and North America (5.8%), with the rest in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere.

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