Friday, April 3, 2009

Conficker zombie botnet attacked 3.51 million computers

Early versions of Conficker called home to 251 different domain names every day to check for updates. Since Wednesday, machines infected by with the latest version of the worm (Conficker-C) began using a sample of 501 out of pre-programmed 50,000 domains a day to search for upgrades.

The unknown virus writers who created the worm are yet to publish any such update, but the call-back actions has allowed anti-virus firms to come up with an approximation of how many machines are infected by Conficker-C for the first time.

According to Vietnamese antivirus firm there are around 1.3m machines are infected with Conficker-C. A breakdown of infections by country, compiled by Bkis, can be found here. The combined number of computers infected by Conficker A and B is 2.21m, according to Vietnamese antivirus firm.

That total of around 3.5m is in line with a detailed technical analysis by Conficker which puts the size of the Conficker botnet at between three and four million strong.
IBM's X-Force has a mash-up using Google Maps or Conficker infections across the world, which can be found here. The Conficker Working Group has published more detailed infection maps here.

Estimates of the number of machines ever infected by Conficker vary from ten to 15 million, but these figures ignored disinfections and other factors. It's more meaningful to talk of the current number of zombie drones rather than the number ever infected, because it gives a much better idea of the potential for harm.

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