"Downadup virus exposes millions of PCs to hijack
LONDON, England (CNN) -- A new sleeper virus that could allow hackers
to steal financial and personal information has now spread to more
than eight million computers in what industry analysts say is one of
the most serious infections they have ever seen.
The Downadup or Conficker worm exploits a bug in Microsoft Windows to
infect mainly corporate networks, where -- although it has yet to
cause any harm -- it potentially exposes infected PCs to hijack.
Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at anti-virus firm F-Secure,
says while the purpose of the worm is unclear, its unique "phone home"
design, linking back to its point of origin, means it can receive
further orders to wreak havoc.
He said his company had reverse-engineered its program, which they
suspected of originating in Ukraine, and is using the call-back
mechanism to monitor an exponential infection rate, despite
Microsoft's issuing of a patch to fix the bug.
"On Tuesday there were 2.5 million, on Wednesday 3.5 million and today
[Friday], eight million," he told CNN. "It's getting worse, not