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Windows-based Computers Still Vulnerable to Notorious Conficker

As per the data recently released by the security firm Qualys, the infamous worm Conficker can still exploit Windows systems.

According to the security firm Qualys, Windows-based computers continue to be at a risk of getting infected by Conficker, although the Internet users believed that this worm would bring the Internet down, as reported by pcadvisor.co.uk on April 8, 2010.

Notably, also known as Downandup, the Conficker worm closes security services, stops PCs from getting linked to security sites, and then downloads Trojan onto the system. It abuses a flaw in the Windows service that is used to link to print servers and file. The flaw was fixed by Microsoft's emergency update MS08-67 in October 2008.

However, regardless of the update for Conficker, new data from Qualys finds that one of every ten Microsoft Windows-based PCs has not yet been fixed to plug the flaw which Conficker exploits.

To add to, as of now, of every 1,000 computers, 25 are Conficker-infected.

Apparently, the security firm, at regular intervals evaluates what it calls "persistence," the proportion of systems that are never mended against a particular vulnerability. According to the data by Qualys, the proportion of unfixed systems typically evens out at between 5% and 10%, with an average around 7-8%.

According to Wolfgang Kandek, Chief Technology Officer, Qualys, around 18 months after Microsoft delivered the update MS08-067, the persistence of the update is at 10%, and this is on the high side of the normal range, according to a statement published by computerworld.com on April 7, 2010.

Experts noted that even though majorities have forgotten Conficker, the botnet is still alive.

Moreover, the officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at the occasion of doomsday deadline's first anniversary in the first week of April, stated that a report on global effort to keep the notorious worm at bay is under preparation by the agency. Named as the Conficker Working Group (CWG), the team of Internet domain authorities and security experts attempted to cripple Conficker by stopping it from updating its botnet.

A CWG member, Rodney Joffe acknowledged that working on the worm has been a great learning experience, as reported by ComputerWorld on April 7, 2010. However, as far as defeating the worm is concerned, Conficker has landed the group no where, he added.

Related article: Windows XP Fault Strike Firewall

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