Thursday, January 29, 2009
Computers Are Crashing, Too
Just in case you didn't have enough to worry about, there's a digital pandemic that no one has yet figured out how to shut down. Is your computer already infected? Maybe.
Experts say it's a new Internet plague that seems to be the first step of a multistage attack...and computer security experts from the civilian and military worlds don't know who programmed it, or what the next stage will be. A malicious software program known as Conficker or Downadup is being spread thanks to a recently discovered MS Windows weakness. Thanks a lot, Microsoft. It also spreads through hand carried gadgets like USB keys.
Nine million personal computers are already believed to be infected.
Here's the scary part - these worms can then create a unified system of infected computers called botnets, which will then accept instructions from whoever authored the worm in the first place. An army of obedient digital slaves...and one of them could be your own PC.
An executive with Support Intelligence says if this is a digital Pearl Harbor, we're at the point where the Japanese ships are visible on the horizon.
Microsoft did an emergency patch in October, but it's still spreading. What can you do? If you've got a PC, update. And keep your fingers crossed.
Scary enough when it's your personal computer. How about when it's in your office? One infected computer will infect every computer on the network. And it's possible that what the botnets will steal the PC user's personal information.
Or maybe it'll just send out a lot of annoying spam.
Oh...on a totally different topic, if you've been thinking about visiting New Zealand, now's the time. The NZ dollar dropped to its lowest level in ten years against the US dollar after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand hacked benchmark interest rates from 5 to 3.5 percent. Until now, RNBZ rates had been the highest of all industrialized nations.