Even Snopes says that stories of a Conficker worm attack on April 1 are true. Apparently the worm, which has already been planted in millions of PC’s, will be activated on April 1, allowing its authors to hack into computers, steal passwords, send out spam and wreak all kinds of cyber-havoc. How bad it will be is a matter of speculation. Whether it’s more hype than apocalypse, nobody knows.
The worm is said to only attack Windows-based PC’s. This article in PCWeek tells how to prevent it. It’s just after 9 pm eastern time. If you’re reading this now, you have almost three hours to make sure all your virus software is up to date.

15 replies on “Beware the Conficker Worm”

  1. I found a relatively easy work around for this potential worm. Just manually change the time on your PC so that tomorrow your computer won’t recognize that it is April 1st 2009. My PC now says 10:47 pm, 1909. Only one problem: would that be 10:47 pm Eastern Time or Standard Time? Anyone know? Would hate to see the clock on my computer get all discombobulated the next time we’re supposed to “fall forward.”

  2. Ignore my last advice. Realized I should probably err on the side of caution and instead moved the clock on my computer back 200 years. I know it sounds drastic, but I did not want to take any chances. Plus, this way I won’t have to worry too much about this bug coming back to haunt me in 2109. By the way, I’m pretty sure 200 years ago we were still in Standard Time. Unless anyone knows something I don’t?

  3. ‘Puss, im sure you are joking. Changing the date wont help. Leaving your cpu off for the rest of today wont help, or staying off the internet for today wont help either

  4. Grabbed from Lifehacker.
    To actually detect and remove the worm, you can use the freely available Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool that can remove a large number of viruses.
    How to stay safe:

    • Make sure your system is fully patched using Windows Update, and update MS08-067 has been applied.
    • Make sure your anti-virus is fully updated, enabled, and you’ve run a full scan.
    • Make sure you are using strong passwords. No more using pet names or birth dates.
    • Disable the AutoPlay feature which Conficker uses to infect systems.
    • Make sure your firewall is enabled when you are on untrusted networks.
    • Make sure your data is backed up.
  5. PAZ, you have the data communications sublayer (Layer 2) in a NIC? You have a cosmetics company?
    Both of these are also immune from the Conficker worm, unlike the disaster of an operating system, Windows.

  6. Ditto on the Mac.
    Why folks don’t upgrade to a computer that really works, is intuitive and doesn’t get viruses is beyond me.
    I have friends who have thrown out PC’s because they were so loaded with viruses, spyware, etc.
    I’m a PC and I just crashed.
    But then again, you get what you pay for…..

  7. Agreed. How to keep your computer safe in one step: Use Mac OS.
    I’ve been using Macs since the late 1990s and other than some stability issues with OS 8.6, have never, ever had a problem with massive security flaws, constant crashing, or any of the other bits of nonsense that has Windows releasing multiple patches before an OS is even one year old.

  8. ID10T error.
    I have to laugh when people blame PCs for their malware, virus, and spyware problems. The majority of the time, the problem is the person using it.
    I haven’t had a single virus since my Win3.11 days. Then again, I took the time to learn about computers instead of diving in head first without knowing safe practices. A computer is like anything else in that you get out of it what you put into it.
    Macs are for sycophants. Overpriced hardware and a suffocatingly proprietary business model.
    Then again, I primarily use Linux. Everything is overpriced and oversimplified for droolers and knuckle-draggers.

  9. prop,
    Your comment sums up the problems with Wintel: “… I took the time to learn about computers instead of diving in head first without knowing safe practices.”
    A computer should be like driving a car– each one is about the same, with little changes here and there.
    But– according to you– to use a PC correctly, one must be an IT expert to run a Wintel machine.
    That’s like asking folks to become a mechanic before using a car.
    Say what you want about a Mac– it’s expensive, but it’s easy to use, gives no problems, you don’t need to be an IT expert—- again, you get what you pay for.

  10. The only reason viruses and exploits are not more prevalent for Macs is because Apple has such a dismal percentage of the personal computing market (about 3.5% of total world market share, about 8% in the U.S.), the people who create these things view coding them for Macs as a complete waste of time.
    You don’t need to be an IT expert to properly use either a Mac or a PC, but common computing sense can prevent a wide range of problems. Unfortunately, such common sense is in short supply in the vast majority of Americans. Case in point, the large number of folks who fall prey to money scams from Nigeria, who think they actually won a UK lottery which they’ve never entered, who click on spoof emails claiming to be from PayPal, banks, eBay, etc. and which redirect to malware sites.
    Again, these are OS neutral exploits. Any idiot can fall prey to them. It just so happens that these sites exploit Wintel machines because that is the overwhelming majority of the market. Given the type of people who purchase Macs (video/graphic design professionals aside), perhaps it’s a saving grace that Macs aren’t targeted.

  11. So what happens to my desktop first thing in the morning after conficker? The Black Screen of Death!!! Really pissed me off because I know what I am doing and that machine was safe. So I get into the Set-up menu, putz around a bit and get a second Black Screen of Death. Only this one is from Dell and it is letting me know that the onboard monitor thinks my hard drive is cooked. Run some diagnostics and find out it is — almost. What a co-ink-a-dink, as Bugs would say. So, prop, I guess I am going to find out how Vista 64 works sooner than I thought. But first, gotta pick up an external hard drive and try to salvage what files I can from the old machine.

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