If you run Windows on your computer, you may want to get up to speed on Conficker, the computer worm that has been spread all over the Internet. According to various sources, estimates claim as many as 10 million computers may have the worm. While it is inactive now, it can be passed on, and the variant Conficker-C is supposedly scheduled to receive instructions on April 1st. It seems no one really knows what the worm will do, because it depends on the instructions it receives. Whether this is an April Fool’s hoax remains to be seen.
You can watch an informative 60 Minutes interview on the CBS News Video page to learn more about viruses in general and specifically, the Conficker worm. Lesley Stahl interviews Symantec VP, Steve Trilling, Google VP, Vince Serf, and Don Jackson, Dir. of Threat Intelligence at SecureWorks. If you can’t load the video, the text of the interview is also online.
Symantec Corp. provides a page of useful information, including what to do if you’re infected with Conficker. Their Threat Explorer page keeps daily track of all risks and vulnerabilities, posts the name of each threat, and assesses threat severity. This page is very useful if you want to keep tabs on future potential problems.
CNET has a Conficker FAQ, titled FAQ: Conficker time bomb ticks, but don’t expect boom, including history of the worm and what Microsoft has done to avert the threat.
PC Magazine’s Security Watch blog has also posted The 7 Most Important Things to Know About Conficker. This simple and straightforward page covers how to avoid Conficker and how it works.
The most comprehensive information lies in Wikipedia, complete with a surprising list of affected agencies worldwide, under the Impact paragraph. The Conficker page specifies: “This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.”
Linux/Mac Users Immune
While Linux and Mac users are generally immune to worms of this nature, and specifically immune to Conficker, if you use Windows through BootCamp, Parallels, or VMWare Fusion, you may be vulnerable and should take appropriate precautions. OWC sells the Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 compatible, Virus Barrier X5 from Intego, which includes a year of virus definition updates. We also sell Parallels and VMWare Fusion, but you might want to wait until April 2nd to install. Symantec has the software you need to protect your Windows install.