Virus awakes, does a P2P update and drops a mysterious payload

The capabilities of IT boffins throughout the worlkd continued to be stretched this week by Conficker, a largely mysterious computer virus that has so far defied full understanding but is believed to have infected millions of PCs.

Speculation that the virus was powerful enough to disrupt the biggest networks through DDoS activity when it was activated reached a climax on April Fool's Day (see previous InfoPowa report) but the sinister threat did not materialise.

IT experts continued to study and monitor the threat, and this week reported that there was a brief and mysterious spark from the virus, which apparently updated via peer-to-peer transactions between infected computers and dropped a mystery payload, according to anti-virus house Trend Micro in a statement.

Researchers are analysing the code of the software that is being dropped onto infected computers and suspect that it is a keystroke logger or some other program designed to steal sensitive data off the machine, said David Perry, global director of security education at Trend Micro.

The software appeared to be a .sys component hiding behind a rootkit, which is software that is designed to hide the fact that a computer has been compromised.

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