Conficker Working Group director claims that Ealing Council was hit by a Conficker infection

News by Dan Raywood

Ealing Council's recent network disruption was caused by a Conficker infection.

Ealing Council's recent network disruption was caused by a Conficker infection.

Rodney Joffe, senior vice president and senior technologist of Neustar, who is also a director of the Conficker Working Group, stated that Ealing Council is now claiming the virus that hit it was Conficker.

The London council was infected in May, when a worker accidentally plugged an infected memory stick into a computer that forced the council to cut internet and phone links to preserve “core systems and data”, according to the London Evening Standard.

The network was then re-infected twice in the next week causing further shutdowns, with all terminals having to be rebuilt or replaced. The entire computer network was totally disabled for four days, leaving it a £501,000 bill for the emergency recovery and in lost revenue. A report being considered by councillors warned that the final cost could top £1.1 million if a new computer security system is needed.

Joffe claimed that the incident at Ealing Council proves that UK industry needs to be aware of Conficker as it can be disruptive to the network, as was the case with Ealing Council.

Joffe said: “It didn't do anything malicious; all it did was disrupt and cause the council to lose income. What happens to your business if a worm exfiltrates your business plans? It is to do with network security and affects everyone, Ealing Council, companies and hospitals.

“People say nothing happened on 1st April, it did an update but it has been affecting British business since January 2009 but I am not aware of anyone who is adding up the cost of Conficker – Ealing has a £501,000 bill, but the real cost needs to be conducted.”

Joffe also claimed that he ‘did not know of any UK effort to camp out at Ealing to find out what went wrong' as many organisations do not know if they have been infected by Conficker.

Joffe said: “Someone needs to stop it at the security level and seeing that it was the first module of this impact, what will we do next time? There are Ealing's all over the world, this is not an aggressive worm but you can consider that Conficker is benign and look at the damage it did, so someone needs to look at it.”

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