First, if you have Plan A from Acroment - you are already protected from this virus and have nothing to worry about.
Second, if you are a computer user who updates their computer on a regular basis with the latest updates from Microsoft, have a current anti-virus subscription, and have scanned your computer recently; you also have nothing to worry about.
Now, for the remaining 10 million or so other computer users out there, here is what you need to know.
Conficker is a worm that once installed on your computer system, will lay dormant until April 1st, 2009. On April 1st, the worm activates and downloads new instructions for itself from the Internet. No one knows for sure what these instructions will be, but it is expected that the new instructions will be to gather information from your computer to try and exploit your personal data to be used for malicious activities.
The Conficker worm exploits a vulnerability in Windows computers which was patched by Microsoft last year. If you have visited the Microsoft Windows Update site since then, and updated your computer. You are safe.
What if I don't turn on my computer today?
The virus will simply activate the next time you turn on your computer.
What if my computer is not connected to the internet?
Well, if that is the case, then you may not have the virus at all. However, the virus can be transmitted to your computer from other media like USB drives and CD-ROMs that you may have gotten from a "friend". So it is best to update your system any way.
Where can I find more information?
- Blog post from Westfield Insurance about Conficker
- Visit the Microsoft Conficker Site
- Conficker Information from Symantec
- Conficker on Wikipedia
I think it is great when the news about viruses reaches the mainstream media. Often it serves as a reminder to all computer users that it is vital that they protect their computer and keep it up to date with the latest security updates and virus information. You take the time to maintain your car and home, this is a great reminder that we need to maintain our computers as well.