April Fool’s Day has long been a day of harmless pranks and funny gags, but this year April 1 will also bring along the threat of the Conficker Virus – also known as the Microsoft Virus, the April Fool’s Virus, and the Doomsday Virus. Said to be the worst computer threat since Y2K, the virus is believed to be currently hiding on millions of computers across the globe in wait for a signal. This signal which is said to be unleashed on April 1, will then activate the virus causing malfunction, destruction, and fraud in its wake.
The Conficker Virus can come from any site (without the site’s knowledge) and works by exploiting vulnerabilities found in Microsoft Operating Systems – more specifically in the Windows 2000, XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems. Once it’s found it’s way in it will often produce pop-up ads or will terminate internet connections. This however is nothing compared to what it will do once it’s unleashed. Authorities believe the virus will seek banking information, passwords, and other goodies it might find. For this reason, experts advise to seek help immediately if you’ve noticed any changes in your computer.
According to Microsoft.com “proper password policy, current security updates, antivirus or security software and secured shares are protected from infection of this worm.” They also recommend checking with McAfee.com or Symantec.com for removal tips. If you’re still unsure, Bestbuy, Staples, or your local computer store should be able to help you out.
It could turn out, much as Y2K did, to be not much of anything, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.