The Narrative Fallacy writes: "John Markoff has a story on the NY Times speculating on what will happen on April 1 when the conficker worm is scheduled to activate. Already on an estimated 12 million machines, conjectures about Conficker's purpose ranges from the benign — an April Fool's Day prank — to far darker notions. Some say the program will be used in the "rent-a-computer-crook" business, something that has been tried previously by the computer underground. "The most intriguing clue about the purpose of Conficker lies in the intricate design of the peer-to-peer logic of the latest version of the program, which security researchers are still trying to completely decode," writes Markoff. According to a paper by researchers at SRI International, in the Conficker C version of the program, infected computers can act both as clients and servers and share files in both directions. With these capabilities, conficker's authors could be planning to create a scheme like Freenet, the peer-to-peer system that was intended to make Internet censorship of documents impossible. On a darker note, Stefan Savage, a computer scientist at the University of California at San Diego, has suggested the possibility of a "Dark Google." "What if Conficker is intended to give the computer underworld the ability to search for data on all the infected computers around the globe and then sell the answers," writes Markoff. "That would be a dragnet — and a genuine horror story.""
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