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Conficker Worm To Strike April 1

(Stefanie Hoffman, ChannelWeb) The Conficker worm that has left a trail of destruction in its wake for the last six months is set for a new evolution April 1 that will enable it to stealthily launch a variety of malware attacks unbeknownst to the security community.

Security experts say that the new Conficker variant, which has infected at least 12 million users around the globe since its creation in October, will contain a new update mechanism that will allow it to communicate with its command and control centers to upload new marching orders and launch attacks at will.

Part of the new update will include a refreshed ability to dodge scrutiny from the security community, which has thus far been able to intercept communication between the worm and its domains. After April 1, however, the new Conficker variant will contain code that will prevent the security community from blocking updates.

"The Internet as we know it will still exist," said Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst for Lumension Security. "But what (the security community has) been doing will no longer work after April 1. There's great concern in the security community because they're no longer able to block the command and control communication of this botnet."

Like other renowned worms, Conficker relies on numerous attack vectors to self-replicate and spread, using such techniques as brute force password guessing to propagate throughout a network.

The latest and most sophisticated variant - Version C - of the Conficker worm, was renowned for infecting copious networks via peer-to-peer networks and USB drives. It also added numerous defensive measures designed to evade detection and removal by disabling Windows Automatic Updates and Windows Security Center. In addition, version C had the ability to block access to several security vendors' Web sites while rendering numerous antivirus products useless.

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