Don't be had by April Fool's virus

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

One April fools is no joke. A technician told us the April Fool's worm has been detected on some computers here in East Texas. It's called the April Fool's worm because April first it is supposed to activate and spread. Experts say the worm, known as "conficker" lies dormant in your computer. So you could have it right now and not even know it.

The conficker clock is ticking. Already believed to have infected millions of computers, some experts are worried on April fools, the worm's creator will have it "phone home", activating it with new instructions.

"Right now, there's speculation on what the impact will be...possible credit card information taken from your computer," said David Pickens with Computer Land Network Technologies.

The worm is like a leach, attaching itself deep in your PC. It runs on Windows computers, and could delete your files or steal information to access your bank account. Wayne Schultz has already been called out several times to clean out conficker, and it's no easy task.

"I had to back up all their financial data," said Schultz. "With the other client, it took me a couple hours. Many many reboots and many virus scans and even had to repair Windows cause it corrupted some of the Windows files."

There's a simple test you can do to see if your computer is infected. Try going to Symantec, Mcafee, or Microsoft's web sites.

"If they're blocked or they're running really slow trying to go to them, more than likely you're infected," explained Schultz.

That's because conficker blocks URL's to those security sites. It's a mystery who wrote the malicious program but researchers are on the hunt.

"They think it's probably going to be in eastern Europe where the UN really isn't in control," said Schultz. "Microsoft has a $250,000 reward for the person that made it."

To protect yourself, install security updates, patches and run anti-virus scans.

"Microsoft offers continuous security and patch updates for their operating systems," said Pickens.

Also, do not use free security scans that pop up on many web sites. Those are usually fake, and researchers say conficker's creators could be connected.