Kaspersky, OpenDNS collaborate to slow Conficker worm

OpenDNS has added a feature to its DNS services with help from Russian security company Kaspersky Lab to fight a widespread worm.

OpenDNS has added a feature to its Domain Name System (DNS) services to fight a widespread worm, with help from Russian security company Kaspersky Lab.

OpenDNS has its own network of DNS servers that translate domain names into IP (Internet Protocol) addresses so, for example, Web sites can be displayed in a browser. The company says its system is faster than using the DNS servers run by ISPs (Internet service providers) and provides better protection against phishing as well as other features such as Web content filtering.

OpenDNS is now using a list of Web sites supplied by Kaspersky Lab that the Conficker worm calls on to update itself. The worm, also known as Kido and Downandup, is believed to have infected up to 10 million PCs by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows Server Service, despite Microsoft issuing an emergency patch last October.

Conficker contains an algorithm that generates dozens of new domain names daily. The hackers controlling Conficker can register one of those domain names and then put instructions or updates for the malware on the Web site for Conficker to download when it checks in.

The problem is that no one knows which Web site will be activated next, or when. However, the algorithm has been cracked by Kaspersky, so they know which Web sites could potentially go live.

The mechanism is also used by other botnet controllers. It's difficult for security professionals to stop, although one security company recently went to the trouble of registering all the potential domain names in order to block updates for a different botnet.

OpenDNS is working around that problem by taking a list of potential domains from Kaspersky that Conficker could call on and not allowing them to resolve. That means if a PC using OpenDNS is infected with Conficker, the malware should not be able to update itself. However, the malware will still be on the PC.

OpenDNS also added a Botnet Protection feature to its service, which will alert administrators if they have a machine which is infected.

Conficker has proven to be one of the most serious worms in recent memory. Infections have spread rapidly since last year. Systems become infected when a hacker constructs a malicious Remote Procedure Call (RPC) to an unpatched server, which then allows arbitrary code to run on a machine. Conficker also uses other methods to spread, including trying to copy itself to other shared network machines by guessing passwords

So far, Conficker's controllers haven't done anything malicious with the botnet. Security analysts are watching the situation closely because of the botnet's enormous size, which may have spooked its controllers from trying to use it for denial-of-service attacks or sending spam.

OpenDNS's services are free.. The company makes money by showing advertisements alongside search results if someone enters an invalid domain name. However, OpenDNS will fix typos in domain names if the service can guess which site someone intends to visit.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags kaspersky labsOpenDNSworm

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?