Massive Computer Virus Awakens

The dreaded conficker worm—the PC virus believed to have "burrowed" into millions of worldwide computers—has been activated and is communicating with encrypted data through affected machines' peer-to-peer filesharing software, the Associated Press reports. Though expected to awaken on April 1, the worm slept an extra week and activated only this week and is now working to connect to various large web domains including MySpace, eBay, AOL, MSN, and CNN.com. Experts say the latest activity appears to be a test or status update for the people behind the pernicious malware, who appear to be biding their time before mobilizing the massive army of "zombie" machines they have the power to control. What do the hackers want? Money, CNET reports. Forensic tech consultants say they have evidence that group behind Conficker "are a for-hire, for-profit criminal operation." Conficker's latest code expires May 3. Copycats and malware posing as Conficker removal tools are populating the Wild West of the P2P world, as well. One tech organization has placed a bounty of $250K on the heads of those behind conficker.