Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

3/31/2009
05:20 PM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Conficker's Real Threat

Conficker is a real problem, but the world won't end on April Fool's Day. Here's why.

Conficker is a real problem, but the world won't end on April Fool's Day. Here's why.Conficker is a large, P2P-based botnet, reportedly with millions of infected machines. And on Wednesday, on April 1, it is set to activate.

A bot is a Trojan horse with complete control of an infected system. It can be used to attack and spy. It can destroy files, connect to addresses on the Internet, and forward your email -- whatever makes the most sense financially for the attackers.

Conficker's P2P architecture makes it difficult to follow and destroy than most other botnets. On April 1st, it starts using a new algorithm that will make following it even harder, but that's about it.

I haven't followed Conficker closely, but I've been asking questions about it. The answer I feel is most accurate was provided by Joe Stewart of SecureWorks, who also wrote this article on Conficker): "The Conficker threat will be exactly the same as it is today, on April 1st."

Perhaps putting a date on the threat makes people feel more comfortable. What if something happens on May 3rd? Whether or not we're warned about that date, we're likely to ignore it if April 1st comes and goes quietly. Like Y2K, we'll feel cheated and try to find who cried wolf so we can hang him.

It's possible Conficker will send spam or, less likely, attack the Internet infrastructure. All we know for sure is that the worm itself won't be much different tomorrow.

We fear Conficker much like we feared the Storm worm. These criminals have a power over us that we can not truly free ourselves from. They show us once more than the Internet is ruled by the might of arms, and not by who makes money by owning yet another DNS top-level domain.

While we enjoy having "stakeholder meetings" with governments and the private sector -- mainly whining about who runs ICANN and civil rights online -- the Russian mafia has not been invited or recognized as a threat to the safety of the Internet. They make more money, have more raw power, and willing to use it even if it hurts their businesses.

As for Conficker, few efforts are under way to fight it, run by good, solid people. Antivirus vendors have added detection, and new network scanners are available.

The hype, however, has been ridiculous. The security and antivirus industries have not had this much PR fun since 2003 with the big worms. I'm sure some of the protected hosting companies sold quite a bit with their "we defend against Conficker" products.

Yes, Conficker is a real threat. But the rest is just hype.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Lock-Pickers Face an Uncertain Future Online
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  8/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: They said you could use Zoom anywhere.......
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-14483
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
A timeout during a TLS handshake can result in the connection failing to terminate. This can result in a Niagara thread hanging and requires a manual restart of Niagara (Versions 4.6.96.28, 4.7.109.20, 4.7.110.32, 4.8.0.110) and Niagara Enterprise Security (Versions 2.4.31, 2.4.45, 4.8.0.35) to corr...
CVE-2020-11733
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
An issue was discovered on Spirent TestCenter and Avalanche appliance admin interface firmware. An attacker, who already has access to an SSH restricted shell, can achieve root access via shell metacharacters. The attacker can then, for example, read sensitive files such as appliance admin configura...
CVE-2020-13281
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
For GitLab before 13.0.12, 13.1.6, 13.2.3 a denial of service exists in the project import feature
CVE-2020-13286
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
For GitLab before 13.0.12, 13.1.6, 13.2.3 user controlled git configuration settings can be modified to result in Server Side Request Forgery.
CVE-2020-15925
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
A SQL injection vulnerability at a tpf URI in Loway QueueMetrics before 19.10.21 allows remote authenticated attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the TPF_XPAR1 parameter.