Some news reports out today are leading the public to believe that the April 1st threat of Conficker has been a whole lot of nothing. Yes, the worm had a trigger date to take over machines on the 1st, and for machines that weren’t protected, that takeover happened. I’m currently working with a friend of my son’s on one of the computers in her household that ended up being infected with Conficker. For most people, because their machines were patched and their virus programs up to date, no problems were noted.
So of course follows lots of commentary about how everything was blown out of proportion, ala Y2K.
I completely disagree. In my mind, it is because of the publicity and news reports that the Conficker worm had less purchase and effect overall. People were paying attention, and they were making sure their machines were clean. If they didn’t know how, they tagged a geek who did, and made sure they were ready for this particular threat. Just because we were prepared for the threat doesn’t mean it was any less of a threat. There are still machines out there that are infected and will need to be addressed, but I believe the threat is a whole lot lower mainly because people were aware and doing what the needed to do to keep from being infected.
I know, sometimes to the rest of the world we geeks are running around hollaring about viruses and worms and oh-my-gosh-it’s-the-end-of-the-world, but the fact is, if we didn’t take these things seriously, there’d be even worse threats and worse infections turning machines into zombies for us.
This weekend I imagine I’ll spend a couple of hours trying to come up with a fix for my son’s friend’s machine. I’d rather have talked to a few people about the worm and how they should be protecting themselves, than spending my weekends and evenings fixing problems that could have been avoided with a little prevention.
Of course, on this blog, I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I?
How many of the geeks out there are safe from Conflicker, a nasty little worm set to go all doomsday on us on April 1st? Hopefully, 99.9% of us are (there’s never a 100% guarantee). I know I am, as is every machine on my home network and that I have control over at work.
But what about those family members that are far away, or at least aren’t using a machine on our home networks? What happens on April 1st to them? Are they protected? And how can you help them find out if they are infected, and get them cleaned up pronto?
A great little article in USAToday listed an easy way to check and see if a machine is infected. Using the browser, go to any of these three sites:
If these sites load in any browser, then Conflicker is not installed on the machine and things are good. But to be on the safe side, you should also be sure whatever virus program is being used is updated and being updated automatically.
If you cannot get to those sites in the browser, then you have Conflicker on your PC. And this baby isn’t easy to get rid of. The article suggested two different sites to try:
Enigma’s Conflicker removal tool
Microsoft’s removal tool
The Enigma and Microsoft tools work because Conflicker doesn’t have their URLa blacklisted inside the worm. That may change as Conflicker mutates, but for now the removal tool is available (and free) from both places. I tried the Enigma one myself and downloaded and installed it very easily. The Microsoft site seemed to be overloaded and I could not fully test it, but Microsoft also claims that if you still can’t get help from their site, you can call them toll-free at 1-866-PCSAFETY.
This is one April Fool’s joke I hope we can all avoid.
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