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Fear and Doubt in a Conficker World

Add me to the list of people who weren't too worried about worms like Conficker. At least until last Sunday night, when no less than Symantec's Research Labs vice president Steve Trilling appeared on CBS News' "60 Minutes" and defined the scope of Conficker's potential damage and the ease with which this worm has been spreading and mutating. (Security Watch columnist Jabulani Leffall has been covering the worm extensively as well over the last few months; his latest is here.)

The worm, said Trilling, is just in 'sleeper cell mode,' waiting for instructions, and it's predicted to cause total destruction or none at all -- of coure, it's the somewhere-in-between that's worrisome. In the TV piece, news anchor Leslie Stahl echoes stats from a study that mentions that one in four Americans have already been hit by some malware out there. Scary, since it means, among the dozen in our Irvine office, at least three of us have a good chance of being victimized (I haven't checked to see if this, in fact, is already the case). Statistics like that continue to reinforce my resistance to do online banking and bill paying and is seriously making me second-guess credit-card purchases over the wire. So, am I wacked or smart to be cautious?

And as MCPs working to keep networks safe, I wonder: Do you think Conficker hysteria to be real or hype? Vote here (using IE or other than IE), or let me know your thoughts by commenting to this post or sending me e-mail.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/30/2009 at 11:59 AM

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