Microsoft this week released a tool to clean up systems infected by the infamous Blaster worm and its sundry variants.
The software should eradicate the worm from infected Windows XP and Windows 2000 machines. However, users will still have to apply the original patch to prevent re-infection.
Normally, such clean-up technology is left to AV firms. But this isn't a normal viral epidemic: ISPs say the worm is still generating malicious traffic, months after its first appearance.
Having bought into the AV market last summer, Microsoft can no longer say the issue is somebody else's problem.
As explained here, Microsoft's Windows Blaster Worm Removal Tool will disinfect machines infected with either the Blaster or Nachi worms. Nachi, released shortly after the first appearance of Blaster in August, was designed to patch vulnerable systems. Rather than help out, Nachi has instead become a serious nuisance. Its aggressive scanning behaviour blighted the operation of many networks - hence the need to kill the "cure", along with the original Blaster worm.
Pox-ridden PCs have a disproportionately large effect in generating malicious traffic - so anything that might result in fewer infected systems is to be welcomed. But let's not get ahead of ourselves: Microsoft's tool will not eradicate Blaster.
High-profile worms fade away but rarely die - as evidenced by continued sightings of the infamous Nimda worm, which is now well over two years old. ®