Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Conficker worm quiet so far

Computer hackers are playing an evil prank this April Fool's Day. They've unleashed a computer worm called Conficker, that is no joke.

So far, the worm hasn't done much. But Conficker has a feature that makes it worse than other worms, and April Fool's Day was when it was supposed to do 'something.' Nobody knows exactly what.

A worm is a form of computer virus, a program that automatically makes copies of itself, that are sent on to other computers.

A worm could burrow into your computer and steal your bank account information, use your computer to launch attacks on others, or do other nasty things.

What will Conficker do?

Security experts at SecureWorks, Inc in Horry County aren't sure, but they do know April Fool's Day is the date the worm was programmed to get new instructions.

"The April 1st time is basically just a change in when it's trying to reach one set of computers to get this new set of instructions to try to reach out to a new set of computers," said Joe Stewart, SecureWorks, Inc.

Stewart isn't convinced Conficker will be all that bad.

He says there's always media hype about computer bugs that come attached to a specific date.

What does make this worm a little worse than others, is that it blocks your ability to reach Microsoft or other anti-virus web sites that have potential fixes for the worm.

But, that feature also makes it easier to tell if your computer is infected.

"If you can still get to Microsoft, then you're probably fine and nothing is going to happen at all for you," said Stewart.

Stewart says Microsoft and other big names in the computer security business are watching Conficker closely, and if this worm emerges or heads back into its hole, they'll know it right away. "All the attention is focused. Everybody is looking for something to happen April 1st, and it probably won't."

If your computer is infected and you can't reach an anti-virus web site for a fix, find a friend whose computer isn't infected. Ask that friend to e-mail you a link to one of those web sites.

From there, it's pretty easy to kill that worm.

The Conficker worm has infected up to 10 million computers worldwide.

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