The Atlantic has a great story on the Conficker worm which I had heard about, but not paid a ton of attention to. Apparently the thing is pretty damn sophisticated and some of the smartest computer security folks in the world are trying to fight it (mostly to no avail). I especially enjoyed the game theory of the whole thing as both sides try to guess what the other is thinking the other is thinking:
I think they were trying something, and I think that they’re too smart to do what everybody figured they were going to do. You have to remember, the world was watching this thing and waiting for the world to end from Conficker on April 1, 2009. The last thing you’d want to do if you’re the bad guy is make something happen on April 1. You’re never going to do that, because everybody’s watching it. You’re going to do something when you’re least suspected. So these guys are sophisticated. They have good code. And just even seeing the evolution from Conficker A to B to C, where there’s the peer-to-peer component, which … strikes fear into the heart of botnet hunters because it’s just so damn difficult to track–these guys know exactly what they’re doing.
Also, ran across this test to see if your computer is infected. Godspeed.