The Conficker worm, which has been circulating for several months, now, has sparked a major global effort by cyber exterminators to track down the infection and help the owners of the estimated five to ten million infected computers worldwide protect themselves from digital harm. .

But the clock is ticking.

Conficker is one of those bugs that can open up your computer to many different types of abuse by cyber crooks. They might steal your personal information, turn your machine into a zombie that broadcasts spam or infects other computers, erase all the files on your hard drive or trick you into buying bogus ‘security’ software.

And, now, there’s word that Conficker C, the latest variant, is apparently set to ‘go off’ on April 1.

What will happen on that date, to computers infected with the bug, is not known. And that’s got the bug hunters bugged.

The crusade to kill Conficker is driven in a significant part by the (US)$250,000 bounty Microsoft put on the heads of its creators earlier this year.

How do you protect yourself from Conficker, in all its forms?

Make sure you have all the latest Windows updates installed and get your PC scanned. Microsoft offers a free scan that catches Conficker at its OneCare Live site. Many major antivirus developers also offer free online scans.

One Response to April 1 computer worm no joke

  1. Eric Jacksch
    Mar 27, 2009

    In the end, avoiding these things comes down to:

    1) Up-to-date anti-virus software

    2) Up-to-date operating system (run windows update)

    3) Back-up your important data to a DVD, USB drive, or something else that can be taken off-line and therefore is protected from the malware

    4) Don’t open email attachments that you aren’t expecting to receive.

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