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Conficker Variant Hits Oxford Brookes Network

Security experts have informed that a malware infected the shared computers used by students at Oxford Brookes University on October 1, 2009. The situation left the system administrators with the tough job of cleaning out the virus, as per the news published by The Register on October 3, 2009.

Officials at the University explained that the Brookes network is suffering form a sustained and major virus attack. They said that they are working on the situation to defeat the virus, which may otherwise result in an unpredictable trouble to networks services. It has been confirmed that a Conficker variant was involved in this case, which infected servers and desktop PCs, including the pooled computer room systems which were shutdown on that day itself till the morning of October 2, 2009.

The Brookes have now made it up to the long list of UK institutions that have been attacked by the virus, along with the Houses of Parliament, Manchester City Council, and the Ministry of Defence, further serving as a reminder that attacks on computers are on an increase. Although a botnet has not yet been established, figures revealed by the Conficker Working Group suggest that there might be almost six million PCs infected by the virus.

Furthermore, it was found in September 2009 that the Ealing Council network was left infected for many weeks when an employee happened to plug an infected memory stick into a PC. Then a week later, Rodney Joffe, director, Conficker Working Group, claimed that it was the work of Conficker only, as per the news published by SC MAGAZINE on October 5, 2009.

This incident well supported the director's contention that the Conficker worm was still active, with both public and private sector businesses encountering such problems on a regular basis.

The Oxford University advised all staff members to use Conficker diagnostic tool for checking virus on their office PC. In case the tool detects virus, users must immediately log out, shutting down their computers and contacting the IT support staff. However, security experts said that the number of PCs that are infected with the virus is still not clear.

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