There’s a lot of talk going on now about the Conficker Worm. It is esspecially hyped up right now because the worm is designed to become active on April 1st, 2009 (that’s tomorrow).
So what does it do exactly? No one really knows exactly, other than it will connect to various websites searching and waiting for its next instructions. What will happen next is anyone’s guess.
How to tell if you are infected
There are a few ways to tell if you do or do not have the Conficker Worm:
- If you are using a Mac or some flavor of Linux you are safe.
- If you are using Windows one indication is that you cannot boot into safe mode. Restart your computer and press F8 before the boot process gets to the Windows load screen. You should get a list of options – select “Safe Mode” and if you can’t boot into safe mode, it is highly likely you are infected.
- Run a virus scan – this may or may not detect it. If you did not have an anti-virus program installed and up to date prior to infection, then Conficker may be able to hide itself from detection.
How to Remove Conficker
If you are infected, or suspect you may be infected, it is still possible to remove Conflicker.
- Try to run a Windows update to install the latest security patches.
- Download and run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (note: you should download the tool on an uninfected computer and copy it to a portable media with write protection – i.e. burn it on a CD (kind of a waste of a CD), put it on an SD card (most have a lock feature), or some other secure media – and then run the tool on the infected machine.
- Try running a virus scan online through Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner. (Note some people have reported system crashes after running this scan, so use at your own risk… it seems most don’t have a problem).
- If you are familiar with Linux, you can burn yourself a Live CD (or make an Ubuntu 8.10 Live USB w/Persistence)… Boot into Linux, install an anti-virus program and run a scan on your Windows partition (you’ll likely need to mount it first).
How to protect against Conficker
There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself against Conficker
- Educate yourself about Conficker. You can read up on Conficker (all 4 known variants) here:
also see this article on Microsoft.com
- Educate yourself about Computer Security. Take some time to read up on how viruses and other maleware & spyware work. Google is a great way to search for information.
- Take action to protect your PC. Run Windows Update to make sure your system is to date. It may be a good idea to ensure that Auto-Update is turned on if you have a constant connection to the internet. Also install anti-virus software and anti-spyware. There are a lot of great free versions out there.
- Make sure you’re important data is backed up!
- Consider switching to Linux! 😉