Microsoft Forms Posse To Stop Conficker's Spread


That's why Microsoft on Thursday said it's teaming up with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and operators within the Domain Name System to disable domains that have been targeted by Conficker, also known as Downadup, to stop the worm from spreading.

What's more, Microsoft has ponied up $250,000 in bounty money for anyone who provides the information needed to hunt down, arrest and convict the miscreants who created Conficker.

Conficker is a fast-moving blended threat that employs a range of attack vectors. This versatile bit of malware is capable of using brute-force tactics to obtain passwords, and it can sneak into organizations via USB sticks, where it then replicates itself to infect entire networks.

Microsoft has plenty of firsthand experience with Conficker: Last October, the software giant released an emergency out-of-band patch to fix a vulnerability in the Windows Server service that's used by Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008. Security experts believe the Conficker worm was able to propagate quickly as a result of the vast numbers of unpatched Windows PCs.

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Other companies and organizations joining Microsoft in its Conficker-fighting campaign include: NeuStar, VeriSign, CNNIC, Afilias, the Public Internet Registry, Global Domains International, M1D Global, AOL, Symantec, F-Secure, ISC, researchers from Georgia Tech, the Shadowserver Foundation, Arbor Networks and Support Intelligence.