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Microsoft Collaborates With Industry to Disrupt Conficker Worm

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Today, Microsoft announced a partnership with technology industry leaders and academia to implement a coordinated, global response to the Conficker (aka Downadup) worm.

Together with security researchers, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and operators within the Domain Name System, Microsoft coordinated a response designed to disable domains targeted by Conficker. Microsoft also announced a $250,000 reward for information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for illegally launching the Conficker malicious code on the Internet.

"As part of Microsoft's ongoing security efforts, we constantly look for ways to use a diverse set of tools and develop methodologies to protect our customers," said George Stathakopoulos, general manager of the Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft. "By combining our expertise with that of the broader community we can expand the boundaries of defense to better protect people worldwide."

As cyberthreats have rapidly evolved, a greater level of industry coordination and new tactics for communication and threat mitigation are required. To optimize the multiple initiatives being employed across the security industry and within academia, Microsoft helped unify these broad efforts to implement a community-based defense to disrupt the spread of Conficker.

Along with Microsoft, organizations involved in this collaborative effort include ICANN, NeuStar, VeriSign, CNNIC, Afilias, Public Internet Registry, Global Domains International Inc., M1D Global, AOL, Symantec, F-Secure, ISC, researchers from Georgia Tech, the Shadowserver Foundation, Arbor Networks and Support Intelligence.

"The best way to defeat potential botnets like Conficker/Downadup is by the security and Domain Name System communities working together," said Greg Rattray, chief Internet security advisor at ICANN. "ICANN represents a community that's all about coordinating those kinds of efforts to keep the Internet globally secure and stable."

"Microsoft's approach combines technology innovation and effective cross-sector partnerships to help protect people from cybercriminals," Stathakopoulos said. "We hope these efforts help to contain the threat posed by Conficker, as well as hold those who illegally launch malware accountable."

More information about how to protect yourself from Conficker can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/conficker. Customers interested in learning more about staying safe online can visit http://www.microsoft.com/protect.

Microsoft's reward offer stems from the company's recognition that the Conficker worm is a criminal attack. Microsoft wants to help the authorities catch the criminals responsible for it. Residents of any country are eligible for the reward, according to the laws of that country, because Internet viruses affect the Internet community worldwide. Individuals with information about the Conficker worm should contact their international law enforcement agencies.

About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Media Contacts:

ICANN: press@icann.org

International: Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Phone: +44 7921 588 770
Email: andrew.robertson@edelman.com


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."