Computer Worm Baffles Even the Nerdiest Nerds

| 7/7/2010 4:59:26 PM

Virus warning

Most computer users have experienced their share of malware and spyware. Now there is a worm with characteristics that have computer whizzes scratching their heads. It’s called Conficker. “No one knows who created it. No one knows how to stop it or kill it. And no one even knows for sure why it exists,” writes Mark Bowden in The Atlantic.

In a fast-paced cat-and-mouse narrative, Bowden tracks the rise of Conficker, which has invaded 6 to 7 million machines worldwide since its arrival in late 2008.

The struggle against this remarkable worm is a sort of chess match pitting the cleverest attackers in the world against the cleverest defenders in the world, many of whom are volunteers. The good guys—who have been dubbed the “Conficker Cabal”—have gone to unprecedented lengths in this battle, and have had successes beyond anything they would have thought possible when they started.

But a year and a half into the battle, here’s the bottom line: The worm is winning.

A substantially trimmed version of the piece also appeared in The Week, which less tech-savvy readers may find more digestible than the tangential meanderings of the full piece.

Source: The Week, The Atlantic

Image by Nils Geylen, licensed under Creative Commons. 

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