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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't Let Conficker.c Worm April Fool Your Computer

In a story posted on CNN, remembrances of predictions surrounding the "Millennium Bug" of January 1, 2000 have made computer owners more than a little nervous. Researchers are hoping an April Fools' time bomb, Conficker.c, that is supposed to hit computers on April 1, turns out to be equally unfounded.

Here is some information on the worm so you can adequately prepare yourself and your computer. Conficker.c is a worm (malicious program) believed to have already infected between 5-10 million computers. It is thought that the virus may try to get computer users to buy fake software or spend money on other phony product. The first version of Conficker (strain A) was released in late 2008. That version used 250 Web addresses as the means of communication between the master computer and its zombies. "The end goal of the first line was to sell computer users fake antivirus software," said Patrick Morganelli, senior vice president of technology for Enigma Software. One way to see if your computer is already infected, is to see if you have gotten automatic updates from Windows in March. If you have, your computer is likely fine. Microsoft released a statement saying the company "is actively working with the industry to mitigate the spread of the worm." Users who haven't gotten the latest Windows updates in March should go to http://safety.live.com if they fear they're infected, the company's statement says. Those who use other antivirus software should check to make sure they've received the latest updates, which also could have been disabled by Conficker.c.

The program could delete all of the files on a person's computer, use zombie PCs -- those controlled by a master -- to overwhelm and shut down Web sites or monitor a person's keyboard strokes to collect private information like passwords or bank account information, experts said.

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