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Let's play guess the business model
The NY Times has a compelling article about Conficker malware, which was unleashed on Windows-based PCs in fall 2008, and that has since infected an estimated 5 million computers worldwide. (Although for reasons "unknown," original versions of the virus were programmed to avoid infecting computers that were physically based in Ukraine. Hmmm.)

One issue, among many, that has the Conficker Working Group stumped is that the virus has lain dormant for the most part throughout this period. However a slip-up of some sort on the part of the Working Group "allowed the programs authors to convert a huge number of the infected machines to an advanced peer-to-peer communications system that the industry group has not been able to defeat."

If the misbegotten computer were reactivated, it would not have the problem-solving ability of supercomputers used to design nuclear weapons or simulate climate change. But because it has commandeered so many machines, it could draw on an amount of computing power greater than that from any single computing facility run by governments or Google. It is a dark reflection of the “cloud computing” sweeping the commercial Internet, in which data is stored on the Internet rather than on a personal computer.

The question is, what's the programmers' game?

"Some researchers think Conficker is an empty shell, or that the authors of the program were scared away in the spring. Others argue that they are simply biding their time."

But of course the answer is not recondite. What's the safest way to realize value from such ingenious coding? Sell it. The Conficker programmers are perhaps now contacting judicious governmental and commercial buyers. OR perhaps they are themselves being contacted.

[One hesitates to make light of the situation, given that school and clinic computers in OECD and developing countries are likely to be massively affected if the virus is used destructively.)


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