Worm: The First Digital World War
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Surprisingly, the U.S. government was only vaguely aware of the threat that Conficker posed, and the task of mounting resistance fell to disparate but gifted group of geeks, Internet entrepreneurs, and computer programmers. They formed what came to be called the Conficker Cabal, and began a tireless fight against the worm. But when Conficker’s controllers became aware that their creation was beginning to encounter resistance, they began refining the worm’s code to make it more difficult to trace and more powerful testing the Cabal’s unity and resolve. Will the Cabal lock down the worm before it is too late? Game on.
Worm reports on the fascinating battle between those determined to exploit the internet and those committed to protect it.
valuable in this context than a large, stable, secure botnet, a network of vulnerable computers not just accessible but controlled by an outside operator. The pressure it mounts on cyberdefenders is unceasing. It is harder to defend a computer than to attack it. Microsoft’s security technicians spend considerable amounts of their time plugging newly discovered holes and issuing “patches” to mend them. This is not scary, esoteric stuff. This is as real as picking a lock, albeit not as simple.
who knew exactly what they were doing would recognize how much harder that would make things for Rick Wesson and other web gurus in the group. The cryptography stuff was mind-blowing. How many people in the world were clued in to the international competition for SHA-3? It was like being a back surgeon with a rare specialty dealing with one particular vertebra, who was also a high-level astrophysicist, an astronaut, and the starting third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies! And it was very
be . . . the Cabal. Dre was one of the more expansive personalities in the Cabal, a towering man with short brown hair parted carefully on one side, a security consultant in the intel agency-heavy districts around Alexandria. Dre felt it was time to clearly define their approach: What we need to do is make sure we get the right people involved and arming them with the right information (be it data, coordination info, etc.) and executing a plan. The plan has yet to be formulated to any extent
TLDs involved might simply decide to draw the line—anticipating that even if the Cabal could corral Conficker C, what would stop the botmaster from introducing D? Then E? Then F? I suspect that some of the TLDs will be forced to say, “We can’t possibly cope with D [whatever ridiculous number the botmaster might crank Conficker up to next], so we don’t want to have to ramp up just to deal with C if there’s no exit strategy.” We knew it would happen. Now it has. What’s plan C? Out in his
Internet world, from nothing. In South Africa as a young man he had served his mandatory tour in the army, and had then lasted only three months in college. He took a job with an insurance company, and enrolled in a course to become an actuary. The second six-month phase of the course introduced him to computers, and he had fallen in love. He took a job with Radio Shack because it offered an avenue out of South Africa, which was then ruled by an apartheid regime that Rodney found unconscionable.