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Wednesday, 01 July 2009 07:53

How Microsoft benefits from Conficker

An attack by the Conficker worm, that infects Windows systems, has cost the Manchester Council in England around £1.5 million - and Microsoft has benefitted too, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News.

The worm cost the council more than £43,000 in lost traffic fines as the council could not use its Windows computer systems to issue the fines by the last date when they had to be issued.

The drivers benefitted as a result as 1609 tickets could not be issued during the 28-day legal limit, the newspaper report said.

Microsoft experts were among consultants called in by the council - and they took home some of the £1.2 million which the body paid out to get the problem resolved. Exactly how much was paid to the different consultants was not divulged.

There was a total of £178,000 in extra staffing costs incurred by the council, of which £169,000 went to clearing a backlog of benefit claims and council tax bills, the report said.

Additionally, compensation had to be paid to those whose benefit claims were delayed.

And it all came during a time when the world, and the UK in particular, is affected by the ongoing global financial crisis.

The staff at the council had to use paper back-ups during the period of the infection which was not specified in the report.

Conficker infects only Windows; people using OSX, GNU/Linux, or any variant of the BSDs is not affected. Microsoft has tended to treat the worm as a PR problem.

The fact that the company is benefitting from Conficker is a great incentive to keep producing poor-quality bug-ridden software that is susceptible to such malware.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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