Archive for Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What to do about Conficker worm

April 1, 2009


— The Conficker worm, a nasty computer infection that has poisoned millions of PCs, will start ramping up its efforts today to use those machines for cybercrimes. It’s unclear whether everyday PC users will even notice, but this is as good an excuse as any to make sure your computer is clean.

There are some easy ways to figure out whether a computer has the Conficker worm, and free tools available for getting rid of it.

One scary thing about Conficker is that it spreads without human involvement, moving from PC to PC by exploiting a security hole in Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system. The hole was fixed in October, but if your computer doesn’t get automatic updates from Microsoft, you could be vulnerable.

Lots of computer worms disable antivirus software outright, which can be a tip-off that something is wrong. But Conficker doesn’t do that.

Instead, Conficker blocks infected PCs from accessing the antivirus vendors’ and Microsoft’s Web sites, so victims won’t get automatic updates and can’t download the Conficker removal tools that those companies have developed.

So see what Web sites you can visit. If you can navigate the Internet freely except for sites owned by Microsoft or antivirus vendors such as Symantec Corp., McAfee Inc. or F-Secure Corp., your PC might have Conficker or a similar bug.

Fixing the problem gets a little trickier.

The best remedy is to have a friend — whose computer is not infected — download a removal tool from Microsoft or one of the antivirus vendors. Then that person should e-mail the tool to you.

A list of the free Conficker removal programs is available on the Web site of the Conficker Working Group, an alliance of companies fighting the worm. The removal programs will take care of themselves, for the most part, scanning your system and purging the worm.

One thing to note: Conficker blocks infected machines from running removal tools with “Conficker” in the name. So users might have to change the name of the file (once you’ve saved the tool to your desktop, right-click on it and select “rename”) before running it. The program’s instructions will let you know if you need to do this.

Many antivirus vendors have already changed the names in their removal tools — in some cases calling the file a misspelled variant of “Conficker” — to trick the worm into letting the program run.


RoeDapple 8 years, 9 months ago

Had an infection last week but it is clearing up now.......... used removal tool....................... burn it in......cure worse than cause............... Friend says,"ain't touchin' that!".................

Chuck Wehner 8 years, 9 months ago

My advice, buy a Mac or get rid of Windows and install Ubuntu. Mac's are not effected by 99% of the viruses out there and I can say the same for Ubuntu and its free to download.

xdtfucygivb 8 years, 9 months ago

One of those buy a mac comments, ay. Make sure Automatic Updates is turned on and your Anti-Virus is up to date, if you did this you have been protected from conficker for months. Mac do not have superior malware protection they just represent such a small portion of computers online that a worm could not survive specifically targeting Macs. I would rather maintain a PC for a fraction of the cost then purchase a pricey Mac that becomes obsolete in 1 year and is un-upgradeable

Chuck Wehner 8 years, 9 months ago

Mac's may have a small market share, around 10% but that isn't the reason they are immune to virus attacks. The operating system has unix at its core, which is one of the most secure systems in the world.

Kyle Reed 8 years, 9 months ago

Macs aren't "immune", they are overlooked and therefore not targeted. Currently...

Compy 8 years, 9 months ago

If they DO find a way to make Macs as vulnerable as PCs, at least I will still have a beatufitul machine that doesn't require me to understand how it works inside in order to function perfectly, can run Windows if I need it to (can't fathom why I would), and is a status symbol no amount of PC-defending can come close to competing with! So, yeah, what's the advantage to PCs for non-nerd types again?

Kyle Reed 8 years, 9 months ago

Uh...they are less expensive? Of course if you're going for the "I don't have a clue how this thing works but it's a status symbol" computer it sounds like you're set. Enjoy.

hawklet21 8 years, 9 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says… I think the Big MAC Attack will come this year and it will be devastating, leaving millions of MACs smoking heaps of E-waste.

Like many PCs already are? Get off it. Not every Mac user is a Birkenstock wearing fool.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

Nick, you been wearing your black hat uptown recently?

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