01.22.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

One Windows Worm, One Week, and Possibly 250,000,000+ New Windows Zombies

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time for urgent “Change”

THIS IS A HUGELY important issue that we tracked a few days ago. We already knew that almost 1 in 2 Windows PCs had become zombie PCs, but it keeps getting worse. According to this report, as many as one in three Windows PCs may have been occupied by one single worm in a matter of just days! That’s how serious it is.

The computer worm responsible for the biggest attack in years has infected at least 1 out of every 16 PCs worldwide, a security company said Wednesday, and may have managed to compromise as many as nearly 1 in 3.

This may be the right time to contract law-makers or regulators and make a request for new laws to be applied to bad platforms that can leave people dead.

The victims of this latest storm are so many and the BBC says that even a UK-based Fire and Rescue service is downed by its use Windows, which came under virus attack.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue has said its IT network has “come under attack from a computer virus”.

Once again, this is costing lives.

Vista and Vista 7, as we pointed out a few days ago, are not immune. It’s more of the same.

Windows worm trickery for Vista

The Conficker virus has opened a new can of worms for security experts.

Drives such as USB sticks infected with the virus trick users into installing the worm, according to researchers.

Microsoft would like naive reporters to propagate the perception that this could happen to anyone, but it was Microsoft itself that said: “Our products just aren’t engineered for security.” Well, now they find out?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

8 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    January 22, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Gravatar

    I’m quite pleased to see that press articles I’ve seen on the subject make it clear this is a Windows problem, not one that affects all computers.

    (One story suggested in the headline it would affect Linux systems running Wine – which is a real concern, as Wine is good enough to run most worms – but the end of the story asked if anyone had seen Conficker running in Wine and could verify it actually did anything. ?!)

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 22, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Gravatar

    That’s like saying that the chef is dangerous because he carries a knife (for chopping carrots and stuff).

  3. David Gerard said,

    January 22, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Gravatar

    Well, yeah. It’s quite easy for an app to break out of its WINEPREFIX (referred to as “bottles” in CrossOver), so Wine-aware malware could certainly trash your home directory, try to read your Firefox passwords, etc. (This is not easy to reliably secure against, and the Wine project isn’t bothering to try. If you really want to run toxic waste in Wine, create a new user and do it there.) However, much like theoretical Mac OS X or Linux viruses, there remain 0 examples in the wild.

  4. David Gerard said,

    January 22, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Gravatar

    The key point was, the article was basically an attention-grabbing headline that was actually a complete lie. Ad-banner trolling.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 22, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Gravatar

    Which article?

  6. David Gerard said,

    January 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Gravatar

    This one:

    http://network.itproportal.com/articles/2009/01/21/linux-windows-7-beta-could-be-hit-downadup-worm/

    Page 1: “Furthermore, there are rumours that even Linux could be affected by the Worm if they run Wine, an application that allows Linux to execute programs written for the Windows environment. In theory, the virus would only affect the Windows partition rather than the whole operating system.”

    Page 2: “It would be great if someone could confirm the Linux rumours and Wine’s autorun.inf capabilities.”

    i.e. we made up some rubbish to give a splash headline.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Extra extra!

    Chef Could Murder Waiter

    Page X: “It would be great if someone could confirm the chef cut the waiter and not onions.”

  8. Yggdrasil said,

    March 31, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Where exactly do you get this figure of 250 million? That number is 100 million more than the total number of Internet users in the United States alone. One of your references from Panda Security suggests rates anywhere from 1 in 16, all the way to 1 in 3. Why so high? Because as the article states, Panda security based this data on machines that had come to the website to have their machine scanned. Imagine the percentage of people who go to the doctor due to symptoms of illness, you might find a high percentage who are sick. Everything else was pure speculation, with little hard evidence. While, I’m not surprised you use the worse figure you could find, I’m surprised you don’t better analyze the sources you use to test their integrity. This reflects poorly on you.

    Late January, UPI reported 15 million Conficker infections:

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/01/25/Virus_strikes_15_million_PCs/UPI-19421232924206/

    But the real nitty gritty from the article is here:

    “Symantec noted on its blog last week that very few computers in North America had been infected, a trend which it attributed to the greater prevalence of legal and fully patched software.”

    In several other places on this site you note that there is no way to be safe with Windows, yet as the article shows, legitimate installed were not affected. Not only because security updates are downloaded, but since XP SP2 the Windows Firewall is enabled by default.

    While you dispute the obscurity of Linux on the desktop, it’s interesting to note that even popular distros like Ubuntu do NOT have a firewall enabled be default. This is unwise, regardless of how many countless security updates are installed.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 05/02/2023: Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia, Musharraf Dies

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 04, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 04, 2023



  3. Links 04/02/2023: FOSDEM Happening and Ken Thompson in SoCal Linux Expo

    Links for the day



  4. 2023 is the Year Taxpayers' Money Goes to War and Energy Subsidies, Not Tech

    Now that a lot of powerful and omnipresent ‘tech’ (spying and policing) companies are rotting away we have golden opportunities to bring about positive change and maybe even recruit technical people for good causes



  5. Getting Back to Productive Computer Systems Would Benefit Public Health and Not Just Boost Productivity

    “Smartphoneshame” (shaming an unhealthy culture of obsession with “apps”) would potentially bring about a better, more sociable society with fewer mental health crises and higher productivity levels



  6. Links 04/02/2023: This Week in KDE and Many More Tech Layoffs

    Links for the day



  7. Dotcom Boom and Bust, Round 2

    The age of technology giants/monopolies devouring everything or military-funded (i.e. taxpayers-subsidised) surveillance/censorship tentacles, in effect privatised eyes of the state, may be ending; the United States can barely sustain that anymore and raising the debt ceiling won't solve that (buying time isn't the solution)



  8. Society Would Benefit From a Smartphoneshame Movement

    In a society plagued by blackmail, surveillance and frivolous lawsuits it is important to reconsider the notion of “smart” phone ownership; these devices give potentially authoritarian companies and governments far too much power over people (in the EU they want to introduce new legislation that would, in effect, ban Free software if it enables true privacy)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, February 03, 2023



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 02, 2023



  11. Links 03/02/2023: Proton 7.0-6 Released, ScummVM 2.7 Testing

    Links for the day



  12. Links 03/02/2023: OpenSSH 9.2 and OBS Studio 29.0.1

    Links for the day



  13. Links 03/02/2023: GNU C Library 2.37

    Links for the day



  14. Sirius Finished

    Yesterday I was sent a letter approving my resignation from Sirius ‘Open Source’, two months after I had already announced that I was resigning with immediate effect; they sent an identical letter to my wife (this time, unlike before, they remembered to also change the names!!)



  15. The Collapse of Sirius in a Nutshell: How to Identify the Symptoms and Decide When to Leave

    Sirius is finished, but it's important to share the lessons learned with other people; there might be other "pretenders" out there and they need to be abandoned



  16. Links 03/02/2023: WINE 8.1 and RapidDisk 9.0.0

    Links for the day



  17. Links 02/02/2023: KDE Gear 22.12.2 and LibreOffice 7.5

    Links for the day



  18. Linux News or Marketing Platform?

    Ads everywhere: Phoronix puts them at the top, bottom, navigation bar, left, and right just to read some Microsoft junk (puff pieces about something that nobody other than Microsoft even uses); in addition there are pop-ups asking for consent to send visitors’ data to hundreds of data brokers



  19. Daily Links at Techrights Turn 15, Time to Give Them an Upgrade

    This year we have several 15-year anniversaries; one of them is Daily Links (it turned 15 earlier this week) and we've been working to improve these batches of links, making them a lot more extensive and somewhat better structured/clustered



  20. Back to Focusing on Unified Patent Court (UPC) Crimes and Illegal Patent Agenda, Including the EPO's

    The EPO's (European Patent Office, Europe's second-largest institution) violations of constitutions, laws and so on merit more coverage, seeing that what's left of the "media" not only fails to cover scandalous things but is actively cheering for criminals (in exchange for money)



  21. European Patent Office Staff Votes in Favour of Freedom of Association (97% of Voters in Support)

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) at the EPO makes a strong case for António Campinos to stop breaking and law and actually start obeying court orders (he’s no better than Benoît Battistelli and he uses worse language already)



  22. Links 02/02/2023: Glibc 2.37 and Go 1.20

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 01, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 01, 2023



  24. Links 01/02/2023: Security Problems, Unrest, and More

    Links for the day



  25. Links 01/02/2023: Stables Kernels and Upcoming COSMIC From System76

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 31, 2023



  27. Links 31/01/2023: Catchup Again, Wayland in Xfce 4.20

    Links for the day



  28. Links 31/01/2023: elementary OS 7

    Links for the day



  29. Intimidation Against Nitrux Development Team Upsets the Community and Makes the Media Less Trustworthy

    Nitrux is being criticised for being “very unappealing”; but a look behind the scenes reveals an angry reviewer (habitual mouthpiece of the Linux Foundation and Linux foes) trying to intimidate Nitrux developers, who are unpaid volunteers rather than “corporate” developers



  30. Links 31/01/2023: GNOME 44 Wallpapers and Alpha

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts