Tricky Virus Hits 8.9M Computers Worldwide

'Conficker' travels via networks, USB sticks; situation 'getting worse'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2009 2:21 PM CST
The Conficker virus has infected some 8.9 million computers.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – A Windows worm that emerged in October is “skyrocketing” worldwide, with some 8.9 million computers now infected, says an antivirus firm. The program, known as Conficker, Downadup, or Kido, can zoom through low-security networks, memory sticks, and any PC that hasn’t downloaded current security updates, the BBC reports. The virus can give hackers “complete control” of a computer, PC World adds.

A Microsoft update for Windows will help home computers, but “as the virus can be spread with USB memory sticks, even having the Windows patch won’t keep you safe. You need anti-virus software for that,” says an expert. The virus is particularly difficult to stop because it creates hundreds of domain names, rather than downloading hacker files from one of a few typical malware sites.