April Fool's Day computer worm may be no joke - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

April Fool's Day computer worm may be no joke

Lawton_Microsoft users beware:  There's a new worm due to hit computers on April Fool's Day (April 1).  But, this worm is no joke.  It's named "The Conficker" and researchers say it has the ability to delete all of the files on a person's computer, and even monitor keyboard strokes to collect private information - such as passwords or bank account information.

A Lawton computer repair expert says this worm is a very serious threat, and has the ability to travel without any human action.  He says the worm is able to replicate itself, and send out hundreds - or thousands - of copies of itself, which could have a devastating effect on computers.  Thomas Windover with Bug Buster Computer Service says his office has been very busy over the past two weeks.  "I would say, on a day-to-day basis, we have gotten in three to four systems a day that have some sort of worm on there," he said.

Windover says several worms have been related to the Conficker worm, which means many people already have the worm on their computers.  However, they may not see the damage it can do until Wednesday when the worm is supposed to activate.  "It can be registering every key stroke that you make," he said.  "It will have already attached itself to your address book, sending out to your family and friends."

However, monitoring key strokes isn't all it can do, according to Windover.  "The biggest thing is that it is logging your information - your credit card information, any of your banking information."  He says even if precautions are taken, and passwords changed - it may not help.  "It isn't going to matter, because once you're infected it is even logging the changes that you have made," he said.

The Conficker worm attempts to connect to other computers across networks.  It looks for computers with weak network passwords, old anti-virus software, or windows software not recently updated.  Once inside a computer, the worm can be controlled by the designer. 

So, how do you protect yourself?

"You have to have your windows updates," said Windover.  "You have to have updates to just about any program that you have installed into your system."  However, if you still think the virus has caught your computer, take it to a professional to have it checked out.  The worm also may stop windows from conducting automatic updates, so, if you didn't get one in March and fear your computer is infected, visit www.safety.live.com, or www.microsoft.com to get the latest updates.
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