The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Monday the release of a DHS-developed detection tool that can be used by the federal government, commercial vendors, state and local governments, and critical infrastructure owners and operators to scan their networks for the Conficker/Downadup computer worm.
According to the DHS
The department’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) developed the tool that assists mission-critical partners in detecting if their networks are infected. The tool has been made available to federal and state partners via the Government Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (GFIRST) Portal, and to private sector partners through the IT and Communications sector Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs). Additional outreach to partners will continue in the coming days.
If an infection is suspected, the system or computer should be removed from the network. In the case of home users, the computer should be unplugged from the Internet.
Instructions, support and more information on how to manually remove a Conficker/Downadup infection from a system have been published by major security vendors. Each of these vendors offers free tools that can verify the presence of a Conficker/Downadup infection and remove the worm:
Home users may also call Microsoft PC Safety hotline at 1-866-PCSAFETY, for assistance.
US-CERT encourages users to prevent a Conficker/Downadup infection by ensuring all systems have the MS08-067 patch, disabling AutoRun functionality (see http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/techalerts/TA09-020A.html), and maintaining up-to-date anti-virus software.
In addition, US-CERT recommends that computer users and administrators implement the following preparedness measures to protect themselves against this vulnerability, and also from future vulnerabilities:
- Keep up-to-date on security patches and fixes for your operating system. The easiest way to do this is to set your system to receive automatic updates, which will ensure you automatically receive security updates issued by Microsoft. If your system does not allow automatic updates, we recommend that you manually install the Microsoft security patch today through Microsoft Update at http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep them up-to-date
- Enable a firewall which will help block attacks before they can get into your computer
To access the alerts for this vulnerability and for additional information on cyber security tips and practices, please visit www.us-cert.gov.