An eight-year-old virus is still infecting thousands of PCs

The most popular malware to hit computers and networks last month was a virus that first emerged more than eight years ago.

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Check Point researchers said Tuesday that the Conficker virus continues to spread across computers and networks — despite it being patched by Microsoft back in late-2008.

The worm would pull payloads over the network, used to spread its malicious files across a network. It would also enlist the infected computers as part of a botnet, which could be remotely controlled.

It didn’t take long for variations to quickly emerge and spread. It later became one of the world’s most notorious malware families going.

Almost a decade later, Check Point, which has a commercial stake in the security hardware business, said that the Conficker family of malware accounted for more than one-in-six recognized attacks last month.

Despite its age, Conficker isn’t alone. Both the Sailty virus and Zeroaccess worm — which date back to 2003 and 2011 respectively — still to this day target Windows machines. All three kinds of malware sit at the top of the list of the leading ten malware families, which account for half of all recognized attacks.

The data backs up earlier reports that the recent spike in Conficker infections hit the half-million mark last year. It was enough for the director of UK’s national Computer Emergency Response Team, Chris Gibson, to call it “enormously depressing.”

“This is stuff we should’ve nailed years ago — this is not stuff we should still be facing day in, day out,” said Gibson.

In other words: old malware, new tricks.

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