The Conficker Worm – Do We Need to Worry?
I have been reading on Conficker for a while now. It’s basically a worm that uses your computer to spread itself. The newest variant is feared to wreak havoc come Wed, April 1st. But if it does, how much damage are we really talking about?
First of all, lets throw it out on the table: if you have your Anti-virus and Windows updated, then totally scanned your PC, you should be good to go. If your Anti-Virus hasn’t been updated in a while (Some IT people feel they are impervious to getting a virus. Silly people), then update now.
Here is another key – if you have more than one Anti-Virus Installed, UNINSTALL ALL BUT ONE OF THEM! You might think this is silly, but you never know when the two programs are going to Butt heads. The last thing you want to do is have them do it when a Virus warning is out.
Not sure which Anti-virus to have?
There are some that say they are Antivirus programs, but really are virus in disguise. Trusted Antivirus is a good example. Now I am not going to make any preference, but I want to let you know some anti virus programs that you might not want to uninstall (unless you have more than one of these on your system).
- Symantec (aka Norton)
- Computer Associciates (or CA) *
- Trend Micro
- Avast **
* Computer Associates is a Enerprise Solution AV.
**Avast and AVG are free for home use.
There are others out there, but we’ll keep the list as simple as possible. Make sure your programs are registered, up to date and you will be fine.
Scan ALL Drives:
Got that Flash drive you use to bring data home? Scan it! How about that old MP3 player? Even the USB drives you get for promotion should be checked for virus. There have been cases of USB drives coming with virus on them. Never assume anything is safe.
Backing up doesn’t Hurt Either
You can easily get a program like Acronis to do a full computer backup to an external USB drive. That way if any problems occur, you can revert to the backup. Best part is it’s really not that difficult to run.
Frank just posted the article “Cyber Insecurity” which talks about that.
Passwords and Shared Folders
If you have shared folders with no password protection, then this could be a door in for the virus. Password protect shared folders. If you update the Anti-Virus, you will be fine.
If you have a Netgear Router, you have some Router Anti-Virus on it. Nonetheless, routers on your computer can help in determining your problems.
Using the DNS your ISP gives you works, but you can also use an Alternate DNS to help with any issues. OpenDNS, for example, can not only help you with virus, it can also do some administrative work so you can keep the kids safe from bad content, or track how much the computer is getting used. OpenDNS is actively blocking the Conficker varients.
Mac and Linux
Yes, you are safe. Pray to your Steve Jobs and Linus Torvalds shrines. Conficker uses Windows programs to propogate the worm.
Turn the computer off / Hibernate
It makes the most sense. I always say if you are not using your computer for more than 12 hours in a day, then turn it off. Yeah, it can be annoying to wait for it when you turn it back on, but it really is the best. Think of it like a door in your house: you wouldn’t want to leave it unlocked when you leave, would you?
So should you worry about Conficker? Well, if you run Windows, I say YES. But if you run the proper programs, you should also be fine. Think of your computer as your house: it’s time for some Spring Cleaning, wouldn’t you say?