Conficker Worm Hits Manchester Police Force
Article by George Norman
On 03 Feb 2010
The Conficker worm (also know as Downup, Downadup and Kido) has been a pain in the collective behinds of Windows users ever since it was first detected back in 2008. Since its release, the worm managed to compromise over 7 million computers in over 200 countries. The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) can now be added to the list of Conficker victims. It seems the worm managed to compromise the GMP’s IT systems and quickly spread through the force; the infection was uncovered this Friday.

After the Conficker infection was uncovered, it became necessary for the GMP to be disconnected from the Police National Computer (PNC). It is a big deal as the GMP was no longer capable of running national checks on names and vehicles. They had to ask neighboring forces to do it for them.

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The experts are already on it, working to remove the worm. Once the infection has been removed, the GMP will be reconnected to the Police National Computer. According to Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson, steps will be taken to ensure this sort of thing will never happen again. The GMP is not currently aware how its systems were infected, but will conduct an investigation to find out how it all happened.

According to Senior Technology Consultant with Sophos, Graham Cluley, an infected USB stick is most likely to blame. “Conficker, which was first encountered in late 2008 and created a hystericane of media interest in March last year, spreads via a variety of methods - but my guess is that it's most likely that it infected the police systems via an infected USB stick,” says Cluley. “Malware like the Conficker worm can spread via infected memory sticks, taking advantage of the AutoRun facility to execute on computers, and has been a common route for virus distribution in recent years.”

The good news is that no data has been lost to the Conficker infection. Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson comments: “The virus is not destructive and no data has been lost but due to the speed it has spread we have temporarily cut off our access to the Police National Computer and other Criminal Justice systems to prevent further infection. A team of experts is now working on removing the virus, and will not reconnect until we are sure there is no further threat.”



Tags: Conficker, Worm, Security, Police, Greater Manchester Police
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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