April fool’s day is going to be an interesting one on the internet this year, because that is the date when Conficker C, the latest version of the worm formerly known as Downadup, goes live. It’s going to launch an as-yet undetermined attack, using a botnet that some estimate has infected up to 12 million machines.
Conficker C is a very clever bit of malware, with inbuilt defences against detection and removal. The worm blocks computers from connecting to security websites and also disables both Automatic Updates and the Security Centre in Windows, which means that if those are your only lines of defence, you might already be infected. You have my sympathies. And also a suggestion that maybe you should read this post, get tooled up and run the necessary scans as soon as possible.
But don’t panic! It’s probably premature to start preparing for the technology equivalent of the Apocalypse. Conficker’s controllers most likely hope to make some money from the botnet, which means they won’t disable your computer. Still, it would be a good idea to back up your files and to take a few precautions to keep yourself as safe as possible. CNet has some good advice on what you need to do to stay safe, and there is also a step-by-step guide on the Microsoft site. The trick is to take action before March 31st, because any later than that may be too late for any compromised machines.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to (re)check my security settings.
[Image by Oxmox]