TORONTO
— The authority responsible for Canadian Internet domains, or website
names ending with the suffix .ca, is blocking access to certain
unregistered names in the hope of beating a new computer worm before it
has a chance to cause havoc on April 1.

The worm, known as Conficker, began infecting computers around the world late last year.

Once
infected, the computers can be incorporated into a sort of mesh that
results in a very powerful single entity called a botnet.

Botnets can be used to do everything from transmitting viruses to sending out massive amounts of spam.

On
April 1, the infected computers are expected to try to contact an
as-yet-undiscovered control centre by logging on to thousands of
Internet domain names, one of which will be the control hub.

Byron
Holland, president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration
Authority, said he believes Conficker is the first worm to target the
domain-name system.

The malicious piece of code has already
prompted the French military to ground some fighter planes, while
Microsoft has offered $250,000 for information leading to the code’s
authors.

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