Some things just don’t know when their 15 minutes of fame are up.
Discovered in 2008, Conficker, the notorious computer worm, got lots of press for targeting users of Facebook, MySpace (Whoa, flashback! Remember MySpace?!) AOL, Yahoo! and Gmail. Its capabilities allowed the attackers to gain access to sensitive information like banking credentials. Later on in its successful run, it infected the computers of the French Navy, grounding flights because the flight plans couldn’t be downloaded. Then in January of 2010 the network of the Greater Manchester Police force was infected with the worm, knocking the network offline for three days.
It keeps going and going and going …
With its ever-expanding reach, a group of organizations including Microsoft and ICANN banded together to form The Conficker Working Group in attempts to squelch the worm. They offered a reward of $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of the creators but no information was ever found.
Despite the group’s best efforts, it was never able to really suppress the worm and since then it’s been turning up in places like portable-X ray scan machines in operating rooms and the networks of major corporations in sizable amounts each year. The funny thing is, that though Conficker can prevent security programs from working and change user setting, the real danger it harbored was the ability to connect all infected computers and turn them into a botnet, (or a network of infected computers), all executing one malicious task and that function was never activated. Thankfully, we still don’t know its full capabilities.
It really liked that police gig
Last week, iPower Technologies, a Florida-based IT firm discovered the presence of Conficker on of all places, police body cameras. The firm was working with police departments to create a cloud-based solution to store information from body cameras when it noticed the worm. iPower president Jarred Paveo told Securityweek.com “This discovery has a huge impact, as these devices are being shipped every day to our law enforcement agencies.” Once those cameras get uploaded to a computer, Conficker makes it way on to that computer and then attempts to spread to other computers on the network, eventually sending back information to a control center. Ouch.
Mo’ tech, Mo’ problems
This is all a good reminder that in the age of IoT, all our devices have the ability to be affected by malware, especially goods from overseas. The body cameras, built by Martel Electronics came from China, distributors extraordinaire of malware-laced goods. According to Paveo “Ultimately, the public has to understand that pretty much any device we use today that connects to the internet or a computer, has the potential to be compromised.”
Don’t freak out about Conficker, at least not on your PC (but your IoT coffee maker…now that’s a different story)
Conficker itself is covered by most AV products, including yours truly, RCS, but that only goes for PC’s. Internet connected devices, which range from everything imaginable including baby monitors and coffee makers to doorbells are built with much less thought given to security and most cannot support security products. IoT has opened up a whole new can of, worms, if you will.
One day hopefully product manufacturers will be as careful with security as the PC industry is learning it must be. Until then, use discretion with your devices.