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Report: 1 in 10 PCs not protected against Conficker

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April 15, 2009

In the last two weeks, there has been some movement by the Conficker worm. Conficker was supposed to attack Windows computers and laptops on April 1st. So far, that hasn't happened, but data gathered yesterday from enterprise users of Sophos' Endpoint Assessment Test reveals that about one in ten computers is still not adequately patched, leaving it widely vulnerable to a Conficker infection at any time.

On April 9, the botnet created by Conficker-affected computers started to update itself through its built-in peer-to-peer update mechanism. The latest variant, Conficker.e, now downloads a rogue anti-spyware application called 'Spyware Protect 2009' and asks users if they want to clean their PC or laptop for a price of US $49.

The rogue app will only remove 'fictional' or non-existing components, leaving the real Conficker worm fully intact, giving the user a very false sense of security!

This new worm variant is scheduled to function until May 3rd, after which it is supposed to subside.

Security experts at Sophos and others say that it is worrisome to see so many computers who have still not been properly prepared, given the fact that the Conficker worm was so much in the news at the beginning of March.

Seeing so many companies and organizations of all sizes with properly trained IT personnel still getting infected by Conficker demonstrates their own inefficiencies. After all, they have the right tools and the expertise to protect themselves.

The Sophos Endpoint Assessment Test is a free online test which checks if you have all the latest patches and service packs installed, whether or not you're running a firewall and antivirus software, and if those are all up-to-date and running properly.

The overall results from this test done in the month of March reveals that 10 percent of the people using the test had not installed the now six-months-old security patch from Microsoft that prevents the Conficker worm from infecting Windows PCs and servers.

The security patch was released in October 2008, well before Conficker got out in the open.

It is high-time for IT departments all over the world to be more vigilant and be on the defensive and utilize proaction instead of waiting until it's too late.

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Source: Sophos.

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