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Sophos: System administrators point the finger over each other conficker virus outbreak

January 2009 by Sophos

A web poll of more than 160 business PC users*, conducted by IT security and control firm Sophos, has revealed that 30 percent of respondents felt that system administrators should shoulder the blame for the recent Conficker worm outbreak which has struck hard against businesses across the globe - because they were too slow to roll out a Microsoft security patch.

Microsoft also felt the wrath, with 17 percent of respondents feeling that it is the operating systems vendor’s fault for having the security hole in the first place. Just over half of all respondents (53 percent) hold the virus writers responsible for the worm which takes advantage of the flaw.

"The majority of users believe that the virus writers must take the ultimate responsibility for deliberately creating and unleashing this worm, which has wreaked havoc on poorly protected businesses," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "But what is most surprising is that so many technical people blame their peers for not doing a better job of defending their networks. Many companies appear to be incredibly frustrated by the constant need to roll-out emergency patches across their networks. Worryingly for Microsoft, one in five people’s anger is aimed in their direction for having the software flaw in the first place."

Microsoft released an emergency security patch which can help prevent the Conficker worm from infecting Windows systems in late October 2008. In the last week a resurgence in the worm has spread via the security hole, cracking poorly-chosen passwords and also infecting via USB sticks.

Sophos stresses that it is vital all businesses ensure they are properly patched against Microsoft vulnerabilities and protect all tiers of their organisation with automatically updated security software to reduce the risk of infection.

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