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New Partnerships Emerge to Defeat Conficker Worm

Feb 15, 20092 mins
Data and Information SecurityIT Leadership

Public/Private partnerships reached a new level of cooperation over the past week, as unprecedented collaboration emerged to fight the Conficker Worm. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Microsoft has offered a $250,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those responsible.

The Washington Post ran a major story on this week’s developments. Here’s an excerpt:

“… Security experts say the worm may be the first stage of a larger attack. By using a mathematical algorithm, Conficker can tell infected systems to regularly contact a list of 250 different domain names each day. If just one of those domains is registered by the virus writer, it could be used to download an as-yet unknown secondary component to all infected systems maliciously, such as malicious software.

‘This worm would be a marvelous tool in hands of whoever can control it, but the real harm from it has yet to be felt, and we’re trying to postpone that day,’ said Paul Vixie, founder of Internet Systems Consortium, a Redwood City, Calif., company whose open-source software powers millions of Internet servers around the globe.”

 The work being done to battle this worm could form a new model for fighting future malware. Law enforcement is working with academia, private sector companies, and Internet policy groups to develop new ways to work together. The security research community is even working with other countries such as China to defeat new cyber threats.

It will be interesting to see if this new trend continues or reverts back to previous patterns. With the new stimulus money identified for technology research, I’d say the former.   

What are your thoughts on working together to fight malware? Will it last?    


Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist and author. During his distinguished career, Dan has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, including enterprise-wide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan State Government. Dan was named: "CSO of the Year," "Public Official of the Year," and a Computerworld "Premier 100 IT Leader." Dan is the co-author of the Wiley book, “Cyber Mayday and the Day After: A Leader’s Guide to Preparing, Managing and Recovering From Inevitable Business Disruptions.” Dan Lohrmann joined Presidio in November 2021 as an advisory CISO supporting mainly public sector clients. He formerly served as the Chief Strategist and Chief Security Officer for Security Mentor, Inc. Dan started his career at the National Security Agency (NSA). He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US / UK military facility. Lohrmann is on the advisory board for four university information assurance (IA) programs, including Norwich University, University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), Valparaiso University and Walsh College. Earlier in his career he authored two books - Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD For You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. Mr. Lohrmann holds a Master's Degree in Computer Science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and a Bachelor's Degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

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