Conficker Worm Saves Hundreds from Traffic Violations

Dennis Faas's picture

Since it was first introduced several months ago, the dreaded Conficker worm has been synonymous with wreaking havoc on computers worldwide. Almost no one would ever consider its creation a "good" thing, but that may be changing, if only in one isolated incident.

Ironically the virus, warned to be harmful to millions of people around the globe, has actually made a few hundred fans in England. The warm reception came following a planned attack on Manchester City Council (MCC).

According to the Manchester Evening News, a total of 1,609 traffic tickets could not be issued within the 28-day legal limit, rendering them void and altogether useless. Worst of all, the attacks ended up costing the MCC more than 43,000 GBP (Great Britain Pound) in lost bus lane fines. (Source:

Financial Losses Don't End There

A series of new reports filed by the Manchester City Council reveal that the Conficker virus ended up totaling 1.5 million GBP in lost earnings. This included a hefty 1.2 million GBP via the IT department bill, 600,000 GBP for consultancy support and expertise and another 600,000 GBP to bring forward the purchase of Wyse Terminals as replacements for the compromised PCs.

There was also 178,000 GBP in staffing costs, with most spent in covering the processing backlog for benefits.

Why did Conficker Target the Manchester City Council?

While the Conficker virus has zeroed in on a number of IT businesses this year, many still question why the Manchester City Council was chosen to be the target this time.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the answer is now known: MCC had no IT disaster recovery plan established in case of emergency.

The shortcomings have since been addressed to prevent future attacks. Steve Park, head of IT at the Manchester City Council, attempted to reassure the public after claiming that the MCC has now "built on and improved a disaster recovery strategy, which covers all main networks." (Source:

However, more than a few people are claiming that any strides made now are "too little, too late" in terms of preparing for a future Conficker attack. While online deviants would not likely reappear for a second time, many feel that the damage to the MCC has already been done during the first wave of attacks.

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