Friday, April 24, 2009

RSA 2009: Conficker Hype a 'Problem,' Says FBI Cyber-Chief

Robert McMillan writes on

Mainstream media hype leading up to the Conficker worm's April 1 software update may have distracted people from legitimate cyber threats, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's head of cyber security said Thursday.

"For the general public to focus on Conficker -- that's the threat they're worried about -- I think that is actually a bit of a problem for us as a society," said Shawn Henry, assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, speaking at the RSA security conference in San Francisco Thursday. "There are dozens of Conficker-like threats and vulnerabilities out there.... while the media stories helped to raise awareness, I think that focusing people on that particular aspect, perhaps took away their attention from the overall threat, which is just as great or greater than Conficker itself."

Conficker spread, in part, by exploiting a previously patched bug in Microsoft Windows. So if all the Conficker hype helped people patch their computers and get up-to-date antivirus software, then it did some good, according to Paul Ferguson a researcher with Trend Micro. However, he added, "it's completely ludicrous to focus just on Conficker -- it is just a symptom of a much larger problem," he said via instant message.

More here.


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