Conficker Worm Compromises University of Utah Computers
Article by George Norman
On 13 Apr 2009
The Conficker worm failed to live up to its April 1st apocalyptic predictions (details here), but this is not to say that the people behind it are not up to no good. Following the news that a new variant, Conficker.E, is making its rounds on the web, we have more bad news regarding this insidious worm: a total of 700 computers at the University of Utah have been infected by Conficker.

According to University of health sciences spokesperson, Chris Nelson, the infection was detected on Thursday, the 9th of April; by Friday the worm has spread to a total of 700 machines from the University’s hospitals, medical schools, colleges of nursing, pharmacy and health. Despite the large number of infected computers, no medical records or patient data has been compromised; the worm was more interested in gaining access to login credentials (username, password) and banking info.


Steps have been taken in order to eradicate the infection; this includes instructing personnel on how to get cleanse infected PC and data storage devices (such as thumb drives) and cutting internet access to certain campus locations. The incident should raise awareness that online threats pose a real danger, no matter how small or large an organization is. The difference between a small and a big organization is that the latter can afford to implement certain security measures that are out of reach for smaller organizations.

In related news, Conficker isn’t the only worm that has been making the news recently – Twitter, over the weekend, has been hit several times by a worm attack, leading to several accounts being compromised (details here). The one responsible for the incident is a 17-year old boy from Brooklyn, NY, who did it out of boredom (and to show the Twitter team that they have exploitable security holes).

Tags: Conficker, Windows, University of Utah
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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