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Saturday, January 17, 2009

TweetThis! Worm attack getting worse, 9 million+ computers affected already

I was listening to a news radio station when I heard a mention of this fast and notorious worm circulating around. This worm has managed to infect approximately 9 million (says Toni Koivunen of F-Secure) computers (and counting) world wide in the past four days only!
It is being reported that the alarmingly high number of infections led Microsoft to enable its anti-malware utility, Microsoft Software Removal Tool (MSRT) to detect the worms and issued a security patch so everybody using Windows should make sure they download and install updates (genuine ones from Microsoft).

Though the names may be different, the effect of this worm is the same in that it destroys your computer, so, whether it is Downadup or Conflicker or Kido, do take measures to protect your computer.

According to one F-Secure security software vendor, the situation is getting worse. This worm gets into your computer mainly through USB's, it "uses computer or network resources to make complete copies of itself".

When this worm gets access to the computer, it forces it to download some softwares and then disable a number of services from your system including the Windows : Automatic Update, Defender, Error Reporting and Security Center, so if you were to diagnose your computer, look into these areas first to make sure that they are up and running as programmed.
...it exploits a bug in the Windows Server service used by Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008. Although Microsoft fixed the flaw with one of its rare "out of cycle" updates in late October, about a third of all PCs have not yet been patched, according to Qualys Inc., another security company. Those PCs are the ones being hijacked by the worm - CW
What to do
  • Since this worm is easily spread via USB's, try as much as you can NOT to use any USB unless you absolutely have no an alternative.
  • Install the emergency update and then run the January edition of the MSRT (genuine one).
  • Make sure your security software is set to scan all files, not on specific extensions.
  • Do NOT download and/or open any file especially the ones that you have not initiated. If you have to download it, make sure that you scan the whole file before opening it).
  • Access your computer's security center to make sure that nothing is changed. If you are new to using this feature, you can simply do it by clicking the Start Button (located at the left bottom of your computer (often with a windows logo)), while still there, look for the "Control Panel" then click on it, a new folder will open, look for 'Security' and check through to see if your security programs are enabled or disabled. Do the needful per the Microsoft recommendations (Start > Control panel > Security > Enable/Disable).
Helpful sources when writing this article were:
KTAR news | PCWorld | CW | F-Secure | Microsoft | Google

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