Conficker worm ends life as we know it; film at 11

Yes the Worm of the Century has struck -- and our lives will never be the same. Right?

As you probably know by now, the Conficker worm is rampaging through computer networks like a debutante through daddy's liquor cabinet. Scheduled to wreak havoc on April 1, it has proven true to its timetable. The Washington Post's Brian Krebs reports that Conficker has broken London's Big Ben, restored Iceland's bankrupt economy, and nearly caused a nuclear missile launch in Alaska.

As CBS's 60 Minutes news show calmly noted a few days ago:

The Internet is infected. Malicious computer hackers have been creating more and more weapons that they plant on the Internet. They call their weapons viruses and worms -- they're creepy, crawly toxic software that contaminate our computers without our ever knowing it. You can be infected by simply visiting your favorite Web site, or just by leaving your computer on, overnight while you're asleep.

But that's only the beginning. Reports are streaming in across the net of the damage inflicted by the most virulent worm attack since MyDoom.

At Microsoft, the Conficker worm chewed through all of its RAID drives, wiping out some 80TB of data related to the company's next-generation operating system, Windows 8 (Codename: Manatee). Total damage inflicted is estimated to be in the thousands of dollars.

When a prankster yelled "Conficker!" into a room full of Yahoo engineers on the company's Sunnyvale campus, a near riot ensued as employees rushed to call their brokers and short their company's stock. (Wait, sorry, they were doing that already. My bad.)

Preparations for the worm apparently interrupted Google's plans to assume the national debt and take over distributing funds for the federal bailout. There are even rumors that the worm infected former vice president Dick Cheney's cybernetic brain implants, causing ... no damage whatsoever.

This can only mean one thing: Happy April Fools. In fact, Conficker is probably the biggest April Fools Day joke of the year. So far, reports of the Net's death from Confickeritis have been slightly exaggerated (though the day is still young).

The whole Conficker build-up reminds me of that scene in Austin Powers where Mike Myers runs over the security guard with a steamroller. It takes a while. Anyone without enough sense to get out of the way probably deserves to be flattened.

More likely the "it's hitting on April 1" is a misdirection -- a pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain kind of deal. Because these days no self-respecting worm author would actually tell you when his baby was planning to strike. They've moved well beyond the ego phase of malware development. Just show me the money, honey.

So while the "Conficker Cabal" is busy cooking up defenses, the real action is happening elsewhere. But where, exactly? If I knew I might be there too, scooping up some of the proceeds. Hey, this journalism gig barely keeps me in dog food, let alone securing my retirement. A man's gotta watch out for number one.

Have you been nailed by Conficker? If so, post your tales of woe below, or e-mail them like so: cringe (at) infoworld (dot) com.

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