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Should I worry about the Conficker Worm?

9:07 PM Tue, Mar 31, 2009 |
Posted by: Walt Zwirko
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It’s now been more than nine years since the dreaded “millennium bug” threatened to topple the world’s computer networks that were allegedly unprepared to deal with the date rolling over from 1999 to a year that started with a “2.” The panic led to hundreds of articles and even books on the subject.

Some people elected to move to remote areas and arm themselves against the Armageddon they were certain was about to ensue.

Fast forward to April 1, 2009 and we are now confronted with the scourge of the Conficker worm, a lurking computer virus that is timed to go off on April Fool’s Day. It is poised, we are told, to infect innocent Windows-based computers around the world. Norton experts say it creates a “secure infrastructure for cybercrime,” allowing nogoodniks to remotely install software on infected machines that could be used for nefarious purposes like stealing confidential information and distributing spam.

Click here for Microsoft’s explanation of how Conficker works.

So should you be worried if you use a Windows computer?

Probably not, as long as you are employing an antivirus software package to protect your computer. All the major security suites including Norton AntiVirus, McAfee and AVG have been well aware of this pest, and users who keep their virus definitions up-to-date have already been immunized.

While an estimated 3 to 12 million computers are believed to be infected, experts said Wednesday that there appears to be little impact on users.

“One thing we’re not seeing is any mass malicious activity,” Joris Evers, an analyst with McAfee, told the Associated Press. “The Internet today is
working just as well as it was working yesterday.”

It was last October when Microsoft issued Critical Security Bulletin MS08-067 which addressed the vulnerability that Conficker uses to wedge its way into unsuspecting PCs. Your computer should already be taken care of as long as you utilize the automatic Windows Update tool. Not sure?

Using the Internet Explorer browser, get on the Internet and go to the Windows Update page to make sure you have all the latest patches and fixes installed.

If, despite your best efforts, you feel your computer may have been compromised, Norton offers a free Conficker removal tool you can download to an uninfected computer and then run on a tainted system.

And if you know who’s responsible for this latest scourge, get in touch with Microsoft. They’re paying $250,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Conficker criminal.




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