Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2332 Conf*cker

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We've been hearing a lot lately about the Conficker virus (or worm, or whatever). I watched the 60 Minutes story on it this past weekend, and that clip was Kim Komando's Video of the Day today.

She says:
"This 60 Minutes piece is pretty scary. It gives the impression that nothing can be done about Conficker. That’s not the case. It can be blocked, detected and removed. I have a great tip that will tell you how. Be sure to read it."
So I went to her link, and ended up running a free 4.5 hour Windows Live OneCare scan which found a bunch of stuff on my system, but nothing important. There was one piece of minor adware, 317 invalid (i.e. - leftover and unconnected) registry items, and a whopping 1507.5 MB of dead temporary files, all of which OneCare fixed.

So I guess I can be reasonably confident that I don't have Conf*cker. Why the "*"? Because "con" means "with", and I figure they just misspelled the "ficker" part slightly to get the name past parental blocks. The name is descriptive. They're "f*cking with" us.

I've never had a problem with viruses. I don't download music or games. If I find a video that requires a special viewer be downloaded, I skip it. I don't click on links in spam. I don't download attachments on email, no matter who they're from, unless I'm already sure they're safe (sorry, Sister. You forward to me a lot of email with attachments, and I never download or open any of the attachments except the photos from you and the nieces). I have a firewall, and a Firefox dohickey that tells me whether sites are safe or not. I have a virus scanner that automatically updates itself (lately, multiple times a day!) and runs itself a couple times a week. I don't put links in this blog unless I'm fairly confident (as confident as one can be) that they're trustworthy.

Conf*cker is more dangerous than the run-of-the-mill virus, though, because it might have already quietly infected even trusted and secure sites, so you can't even trust Google or Firefox or the Wall Street Journal.

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day. Run your scans this evening. Turn your computer off tonight, not just to sleep. Cross your fingers tomorrow. Don't do any online banking or shopping until you hear what Conf*cker might be doing.

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