Downadup computer virus: Here’s what you need to know

There is a new malicious software threat affecting Windows machines all around the globe. The "Downadup" (or "Conficker," depending on who you ask) is a worm that exploits a bug in Windows and can infect machines on a given network at an alarming rate.

Although Downadup is particularly problematic to corporate data networks, it also can affect the performance and security of home machines and the ones owned by the resident student population at UST.

Downadup works by exploiting computers that run the Windows operating system but are lacking a necessary Microsoft security update, and by exploiting computers with weak passwords. Once a machine is infected, Downadup begins to search available networks for other machines to compromise.

It is unclear what damage can be caused by this virus, but machines that are compromised then have a much greater risk at being further compromised by other malicious software programs. Interference with Network speed and functionality also can occur as infected machines continually scan for additional machines to infect.

Non-UST computers

The best way to protect your personal computer against Downadup is by ensuring that you have the "MS08-067" patch from Microsoft. If you are unsure if you have the patch, you can check in the "add/remove programs" utility for your computer (be sure that the "show updates" option is checked) and look for "security update (KB958644)." If the update is there, you should be all set. If you do not see this update, one can be downloaded and installed by visiting the Microsoft Download Center Web site.

UST Computers

IRT patched the Windows machines on the St. Thomas domain against this attack.

If you think your UST computer has been compromised, or if you receive a message from Sophos saying it has, please call the Tech Desk, (651) 962-6230.

For more information on Downadup, visit these sources: