More Information About Conficker.c Virus

Do you remember the "millennium bug?" Do you remember how computers acted when their clocks turned to January 1, 2000?

Researchers are hoping that a potential April Fool's time bomb -- the Conficker.c that is supposed to hit computers on April 1 -- turns out to be equally unfounded. Here some questions & answes that will help everyone to know more about virus.

Q. What will happen on 1 April 2009?

According to Microsoft, systems will infect with the latest version of Conficker. It is possible that infected systems may auto-update themselves with a new version by contacting a new site on the list. However, Microsoft say that these systems could also update themselves before or after 1 April by using Conficker's peer to peer technology.

Q. How do I know if I have been infected?

A rather basic test is to try and log onto an anti-virus website. Conficker blocks many of these sites in an attempt to keep users in the dark.

Q. How will it spread?

Conficker spreads itself across a network by exploiting a vulnerability in the Windows Server service. Microsoft have released a security update - MS08-067 - which closes that vulnerability, but as later forms of the virus can also spread via portable devices (such as memory sticks) this alone will not give you full protection.

Q. What can I do to protect myself?

Anti virus protection for your computer is essential and almost every piece of anti-virus software will keep you safe. However, this requires that you not only install the software, but keep it up to date. Most anti-virus packages offer an auto-updating feature, however it is worth checking when an update was last performed and, if necessary, forcing it to perform a current update.

Q. What other issues are there?

Conficker contains a password-cracking program that can break simple passwords, for example: 5678, blog etc - along with simple numeric passwords and birthdays.

Passwords are classified as weak, moderate, or strong - depending on how easy they are to crack.

An ideal password, which would be very hard to break, should contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and should be a minimum of six characters long.

Microsoft have also advised that users should disable the AutoPlay feature in Windows. This is to prevent viral code activating if a CD-ROM or USB device or other media containing an Autorun.inf file is plugged into the computer.


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