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Conficker Working Group talks up successes


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But millions of PCs are still infected

The working group set up to tackle the Conficker worm has produced its final report on its achievements, calling for greater collaboration among public and private sectors in future and warning that the worm remains at large.

Conficker led to the largest computer infection of its time, affecting a wide range of organisations including governments, businesses and home computers. All told, the worm managed to infect an estimated seven million machines.

The Conficker Working Group included representatives from Microsoft and Icann, along with domain registry operators, anti-virus vendors, and academic researchers.

The Lessons Learned (PDF) report from the group said that the main aim was to register and block domains before the Conficker author could get to them and update the botnet. Although there were some errors, the report claims that the group was successful in this aim.

However, it was unable to fix infected computers and remove all traces of the botnet. The report explained that there are millions of infected computers still out there.

"The Working Group sees its biggest failure as the inability to remediate infected computers and eliminate the threat of the botnet," the report said.

The group has advocated more concrete collaboration in the private sector, as well as input from law enforcement, government legislative reform, and public-private information sharing.

Rodney Joffe, senior vice president and senior technologist at Domain Name System services provider Neustar, and director of the working group, highlighted some of the difficulties associated with fighting online crime and virus writers.

He said the Conficker Working Group was an "overwhelming success" in showing how public and private sectors can come together to combat cyber threats.

"However, it is also a clear example of how this 'best of breed' co-operation is generally powerless to stop determined attacks," he added.

"Conficker remains undefeated, and no arrests have yet been made. The operation was a complete success; unfortunately the patient died."

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