Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Microsoft, ICANN fights against Conficker virus

OBVIOUSLY disturbed by the security lapses surrounding the evolution of Conficker worm, otherwise, known as Downadup computer virus, software gaint, Microsoft Corporation, and coordinating agency for the Internet globally, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), have joined forces with other industry notables in leading an online armoury to upstage the virus.

This is coming as Microsoft, last weekend, dangled a reward of $250,000 (about N362,500) for any valuable information that could result in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for illegal and malicious Conficker.

In association with security researchers, ICANN and operators within the Domain Name System (DNS), as well as Microsoft, have concluded arrangement to coordinate a response designed to disable domains targeted by Conficker.

A press statement from Microsoft said that the $250,000 reward for information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for illegally launching of Conficker malicious code on the Internet, was part of its ongoing security efforts.

General Manager, Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft, Mr. George Stathakopoulos, was quoted as saying that his company had always been on the vanguard of constantly looking for ways to use a diverse set of tools and develop methodologies to protect the customers.

"By combining our expertise with that of the broader community we can expand the boundaries of defense to better protect people worldwide," he said.

He pointed out that as cyberthreats score raises astronomically, a greater level of industry coordination and new tactics for communication and threat mitigation are required.

To achieve this, he said, multiple initiatives are being employed across the security industry and within academia, with Microsoft helping to unify these broad efforts to implement a community-based defense to disrupt the spread of Conficker.

Stathakopoulos stressed that Microsoft's approach combines technology innovation and effective cross-sector partnerships to help protect people from cybercriminals.

"We hope these efforts help to contain the threat posed by Conficker, as well as hold those who illegally launch malware accountable," he said.

Also commenting, the chief Internet security advisor at ICANN, Mr. Greg Rattray, was quoted as saying that the best way to defeat potential botnets like Conficker/Downadup is by the security and Domain Name System communities working together.

"ICANN represents a community that's all about coordinating those kinds of efforts to keep the Internet globally secure and stable," he said.

Along with Microsoft, organizations involved in this collaborative effort include
ICANN, NeuStar, VeriSign, CNNIC, Afilias, Public Internet Registry, Global Domains International Inc., M1D Global, AOL, Symantec, F-Secure, ISC, researchers from Georgia Tech, the Shadowserver Foundation, Arbor Networks and Support Intelligence.

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