Will The Worm Turn?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images/MedioImages
    This could be the site on April 1 if computers are not protected properly from the Conficker C worm.

    In the already weird world of computer viruses, it's kind of fitting that we computer users could get a joke played on us come April first.

    You may have already heard of the "conficker" worm.  Heck, it may be sitting on your computer right now.  McAfee virus fighters in the Silicon Valley estrimate that some twenty million PCs are already infected with the worm.  And things may soon get worse.  Conficker, which digs into your computer (Macs, we're told, are safe) and treats it like a "zombie" (sending out spam to lots of other computers), is apparently waiting until April 1 to get its next set of "instructions" from whoever created it in the first place.

    It's creator, by the way, is now famous:  Microsoft has put out a $250 thousand bounty on his/her head.  You get the reward if you privide information leading to a capture.  How cool is that, by the way?

    But, I digress.  Brent Remai of McAfee has a quick way to find out if you've been conficker-ed.  Try typing in the URL of a virus-fighting company (i.e., www.mcafee.com, or www.symantec.com). If it works, you're probably up to date with your anti-virus software, and you don't have the conficker worm.  If not, conficker is likely blocking your computer from fighting back, and it's time to install some new armor.

    Nothing is certain in the virus world, and April 1 may come and go without anything catastrophic happening.  But, just in case, try the URL test.  It may save your computer from turning into a zombie.