A new digital plague has hit the Internet, infecting millions of personal and business computers in what seems to be the first step of a multistage attack. The world's leading computer security experts do not yet know who programmed the infection, or what the next stage will be."
John Markoff, The New York Times January 22, 2009
When the Conficker computer worm was unleashed on the world in November 2008, cybersecurity experts did not know what to make of it. The worm, exploiting the security flaws in Microsoft Windows, grew at an astonishingly rapid rate, infecting millions of computers around the world within weeks. Once the worm infiltrated one system it was able to link that system with others to form a single network under illicit outside control - a situation known as a "botnet." This botnet was soon capable of overpowering any of the vital computer networks that today control banking, telephone service, energy flow, air traffic, health-care information - even the Internet itself. Was it a platform for criminal profit, or a weapon? Security experts do not know for sure what Conficker's purpose is, or even where it came from.
Mark Bowden's "Worm: The First Digital World War," is about the next frontier in terrorism. Bowden, the best-selling author of Black Hawk Down, has delivered a dramatic cybercrime story that explores the Conficker computer worm, a potentially devastating computer virus that has baffled experts and infected as many as twelve million computers to date.
We are very pleased to welcome John Markoff of The New York Times back to our stage to moderate a conversation about the Conficker worm and the wages of this digital war, with author Bowden and T. J. Camapana, Senior Program Manager for Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit. Campana is responsible for investigating cybercrime issues related to malware, botnets, hacking and other criminal and security incidents involving Microsoft technologies, properties and services.