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Thu 22 Jan 2009 08:00 AM

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Middle East infection of Downadup worm confirmed

Symantec reveals list of countries with the most outbreaks to date

Security experts have confirmed that the Middle East has also been infected by the widespread Downadup worm.

"We have seen outbreaks of Downadup in the Middle East up to today, and it reaffirms the fact that an antivirus package alone cannot protect a network against malicious activity," says Bulent Teksoz, systems engineering manager at Symantec.

The worm is believed to have infected millions of machines around the world. It spreads by making connections to computers across a network, looking for systems with open shares, removable media and weak passwords, or those that don’t have the latest security updates installed.

Presently China has the most number of infections, followed by Argentina, Taiwan, Brazil, India, Chile and Russia.

Interestingly, other nations with higher computer usage such as USA or Korea have not reported a high outbreaks, which Patrick Fitzgerald, an employee at Symantec, believes can be explained by the use of illegal software.

“…on October 20, 2008, Microsoft rolled out an updated Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) system to help combat the high rate of piracy of its Windows platform. One of the side effects of this policy is that people using illegal copies of Windows will be more likely to disable automatic updates from Microsoft,” he writes in his security blog post.

Recently, F-Secure warned users that the Downadup worm has yet to unleash its damage with hackers expected to cash in on the malicious code at any time.

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