Conficker is a bot, a form of virus targeted at PCs with Microsoft Operating Systems (check out my post about bots for more information), which has been making some headlines lately. First discovered in October of 2008 it was observed to be spreading but was not actively causing harm. There are varying reports which estimate greater than 15 million computers have been infected to date and the virus will become active on April 1st. When Conficker activates on a PC, it is expected to disable a number of system services such as Windows Automatic Update, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender and Windows Error Reporting.
How can you stop Conficker?
Conficker can be detected with reputable or brand name security software. Check the support site of your favorite brand to see if your software will detect and remove it. Comcast customers who have downloaded and installed the McAfee Security Suite included with their High Speed Internet Service are protected. If you suspect you may have Conficker, run a full scan to detect and remove the infection, and reboot your PC.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To keep your computers, identity, precious memories, and important files safe, Comcast recommends installing a security suite with Anti-virus, Firewall, Anti-spyware, and browsing protection. Today’s security tools are constantly working to inspect your computer on a regular schedule and screening files in real time as you download them from the internet. Comcast High Speed Data customers can download the highly acclaimed McAfee Security Suite and the Comcast Toolbar at www.comcast.net/security for free.
Update: The Department of Homeland Security has released a Conficker/Downadup Computer Worm Detection Tool and the Conficker Work Group has compiled a list of Conficker repair tools that are worth taking a look at.