Conficker.c controls 4% of all infected PCs, IBM says
Vietnamese security company pegs the count at 1.3 million worldwide, 35,000 in the U.S.
Computerworld - As many as one out of every 25 Internet addresses that transmits potentially dangerous data over the Internet is infected with the Conficker.c worm, IBM's security arm said today.
One day after the worm began communicating with its hacker controllers over a new command channel -- a trigger that failed to wreak the havoc some had predicted -- IBM Internet Security Systems' X-Force team had enough data to estimate its size, said Holly Stewart, the group's threat response manager.
Computerworld had asked Stewart for an estimate Tuesday, but she declined to provide one then. "We simply didn't want to report a number that would be inaccurate," Stewart said in a post to the X-Force blog.
Using techniques developed in-house, X-Force has been able to detect machines plagued with the newest variant of Conficker by picking apart incoming Internet traffic to find the worm's peer-to-peer communications. Earlier in the week, X-Force used that ability to pinpoint the geographic location of Conficker.c-infected PCs and found that most of them were in Asia and Europe, with relatively few in the U.S. and Canada.
Today, it released numbers that gave a glimpse into the possible size of the Conficker.c botnet. "Four percent of the sources of suspicious activity on the Internet are infected with Conficker.c," said Tom Cross, the manager of X-Force, in a telephone interview late today. X-Force arrived at that number by monitoring the traffic hitting its customers' intrusion-prevention appliances.
It's impossible to correlate that percentage -- which essentially means that 1 out of every 25 infected PCs has been hit with Conficker -- to the general IP population, Cross cautioned. Clearly, the 4% isn't the fraction of the world's computers that are infected, he said. "There are people doing extrapolations using different methods who are coming up with estimates like that," he added.
One such estimate pegged the number of Conficker.c-infected systems rather precisely. According to Nguyen Tu Quang, chief technology officer at Bach Khoa Internetwork Security (BKIS), an antivirus vendor in Hanoi, Vietnam, there are 1,384,100 computers harboring the worm.
China leads all countries in the count, Nguyen said in an e-mail today, noting that 13.7% of all Conficker.c infections are located there. Brazil and Russia follow in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, with 10.4% and 9.3%, respectively. The U.S., meanwhile, accounts for just 2.6% of the total, or just over 35,000 PCs.
X-Force has detected a significant increase in the number of infected IP addresses since Monday, Stewart said in her blog. On Monday, for instance, it found 37,000 unique IP addresses with signs of Conficker.c infection, while by Wednesday the number had jumped to 64,000, an increase of 71%.
- Conficker's makers lose big, expert says
- Conficker activation passes quietly, but threat isn't over
- FAQ: Just the facts on Conficker
- Security managers concerned but confident about Conficker on eve of expected attack
- IBM: Conficker.c infects small number in U.S.
- Security software scammers riding on Conficker's coattails
- Researchers exploit Conficker flaw to find infected PCs
- Conficker's next move a mystery to researchers
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- Top Tips for Securing Big Data Environments: Why Big Data Doesn't Have to Mean Big Security Challenges Organizations must come to terms with the security challenges they introduce. As big data environments ingest more data, organizations will face significant risks...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!