By Heartland News
(KFVS) - Will the Conficker worm be a nightmare for computer users today - or will it turn out to be another deal like the Y2K problem: more talk than action? No one knows for sure, but like Y2K, the best defense - is a good defense.
The worm's programming included a change in tactics on April 1. Infected computers were told to step up their attempts to "phone home" for commands. But chief research officer Mikko Hypponen at antivirus company F-Secure says that's the only sign of life from the bug.
The worm can take control of unsuspecting PCs running Microsoft's Windows operating system. But its creators likely want to use their vast "botnet" to send spam or perform other cybercrimes, and not to bring down the Internet.
Security companies monitoring the worm have been largely successful at blocking infected machines from communicating with whoever programmed it.
Computer users who normally don't pay much attention to virus protection have been checking their computers to make sure it's shielded from the bug. There are a number of tools available to rid computers of the infection. And it's relatively easy for people to tell whether their computer might be affected by the bug.
The worm is considered especially dangerous because it spreads without human involvement. It's believed that more of the bugs might become active on April Fools Day, which is why you've been hearing so much about it recently.
Microsoft has a website set up to help you detect if your computer has the Conficker worm. The site can also help you remove it.