Rise of botnet; or, January 1, 2000?

The choice of April Fool’s Day by the program’s authors, who are unknown, has led to speculation that the program might be a hoax. But a variety of computer security executives and law enforcement officials have pointed out that the program, which has spread to at least 12 million computers, could inflict genuine harm. Consensus among security specialists on Tuesday was that it was likely to take several days before the program’s intent could be determined.

A group of computer security specialists has tried to make it impossible for Conficker’s authors to download instructions to infected computers. While they were doing so, the authors began distributing the C version of the program. It was intended to begin contacting 50,000 Internet domains on Wednesday.

In response, the researchers have created a system that will allow them to trap all of the attempted botnet communications. That has involved a global effort, including monitoring the domains of 110 countries.

A spokeswoman for the Conficker Cabal, a security working group organized by Microsoft and other computer security companies, said on Tuesday that the group had no new information to report about the activity of the malicious program. |NY Times|

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