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Risk

1/23/2009
10:45 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Downadup Worm Infects 1 In 16 Of World's PCs, Adding A Million A Day

The rapid (to say the least) spread of the Downadup (also known as Confickr) worm is getting worse fast, with security companies noting that one in every sixteen of the world's PCs is infected. And that number may be very conservative.

The rapid (to say the least) spread of the Downadup (also known as Confickr) worm is getting worse fast, with security companies noting that one in every sixteen of the world's PCs is infected. And that number may be very conservative.According to anti-virus maker Panda Security, the Downadup worm (aka Confickr) has now infected about one-sixth of the world's PCs.

Automated security specialist Shavlik Technologies, in estimates that the infection is growing at the rate of 1 million computers a day.

Security vendor F-Secure was estimating Downadup infections at close to 9 million a week ago.

Three weeks into the worst worm outbreak in years and it's clearly still growing. While the malicious acts the worm commits -- blocking network access accounts, adjusting or disabling anti-virus and firewall settings, blocking Web access to anti-virus sites, and, of course, copying itself -- the undropped other shoe remains whether or not Dowanadup/Confickr is a major botnet waiting to be called into action.

If so -- and, frankly, even if not -- we have only ourselves to blame.

Or at least one in sixteen of us do: Downadup takes advantage of the critical but long-patched Microsoft vulnerability addressed in this security bulletin.

Check the date on that bulletin. You got it: three months ago today.

Happy anniversary: and the present is a massive worm outbreak that didn't get started until nine weeks after one of the most publicized patches in history was released.

We've known for some time -- forever -- that patching was poorly practiced by a certain per centage of the computing world. Downadup's spread is beginning to make clear what that per centage is.

Six or so per cent so far -- and climbing.

Anybody want to bet it won't hit 10 per cent? Or higher?

Didn't think so.

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