Technology & Social Media

Conficker’s just a joke … or is it?

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The Conficker bug was hyped as the second coming of Y2K. The results were about the same, too.

The worrisome Internet worm -- which reportedly has infiltrated millions of computers worldwide and was expected to launch some sort of attack on April 1 -- did nothing. The only things launched were countless April Fool's jokes.

But there are still plenty of threats out there. So what has Conficker taught us?

One lesson comes from the MACPA's own IT manager, Doug Shaner. Prior to Conficker's expected shananigans, I asked him how we could protect ourselves. His answer: If you've installed the latest security patches and are running up-to-date anti-virus software, you should be OK.

That's good news. Here's some more.

It comes from Brian Krebs, who writes for The Washington Post's "Security Fix" blog.

Krebs says the hype surrounding Conficker forced Internet security folks to throw a ton of resources at the problem. All that attention may have helped prevent Conficker from getting off the ground.

The bad news, says Krebs, is that threats like Conficker and Y2K are desensitizing the average Internet user to Internet security threats.

"The problem is that Conficker is one of a million other active threats, and most of the rest are taking a much more stealthy approach," Lawrence Baldwin, founder of security consultancy myNetWatchman, told Krebs. "Yes, threats like Conficker can grow to a high enough visibility level that it potentially put us in a position to educate the masses, but by that very same event those threats soon become irrelevant because so much visibility is created around them."

Not only that, but the threat posed by Conficker might still exist. Writes Krebs: "The worm's author(s) could easily decide to wait until everyone's guard is down to instruct all infected systems to update themselves with additional malicious components, or to attack some target online or start blasting spam."

Sweet dreams.

Looking for Conficker-related resources? Try these:


Bill Sheridan