Conficker A Dud On April Fools
Well, just like how we watched the clock tick past midnight on January 1, 2000 and subsequently noticed the world was essentially the same as it always was—a few people preaching doom, a lot more stocking up on bottled water, and the rest waiting and watching with bated breath. April 1, 2009 goes down as the day the world was duped by reasonably harmless computer virus.
Up until this morning, when on NBC’s Today Conficker fell clumsily and ominously from the newscaster’s lips, the world’s computers were vulnerable to a devastating attack, and all the people ran screaming into the streets horrified by the thought they may miss something on Facebook.
Security companies blame the media. The media blames the security companies. I blame the PR crews at the security companies for crafting a tale just sexy and open-ended enough to encourage the media to embarrassingly embellish it. Then again, in a dealer-crack addict relationship, do you blame the dealer or the addict?
So uh, what happened today anyway?
“So far, we have not seen any mass malicious activity,” said McAfee security researcher Dave Marcus. “McAfee Avert Labs is seeing Conficker infected hosts attempting to call their master to get instructions, however those calls are not getting through.”
Marcus likely understands how disappointing that is—we were hoping for something much more catastrophic—and so he left his concluding remarks soothingly open ended. “This could be deliberate and the infected hosts may try again later, perhaps over the weekend when people aren’t watching as closely."
Yep, maybe Conficker just has stage fright, a little computer virus performance anxiety. Some guys can only be invisible when nobody’s looking.
More guys at McAfee tricked their version of the virus into thinking it was April 1 yesterday and their conclusion was equally as boring. If you still care enough to read a very technical PDF about Conficker.C, Sophos has your fix.