New computer worm spreading fast

February 4, 2009 6:06:34 PM PST
Millions of Windows computers have been infected by a new computer worm dubbed "Conficker." The situation is "not getting better," but rather is "getting worse," according to security software vendor F-Secure.

In a blog post, F-Secure security researchers report that the number of machines infected by the Downadup worm has skyrocketed from roughly 2.4 million to over 8.9 million in the last four days.

Downadup is a malicious worm that "uses computer or network resources to make complete copies of itself," according to F-Secure. And it may also include code or other malware that damages both a computer and network. The worm also goes by the names "Kido" and "Conflicker." Details on how it operates and how to remove it are here.

The virus affects machines running Microsoft's operating systems; the company has already issued a security update to deal with the bug.

As Microsoft classifies this update as "critical," we strongly urge you to make sure your computer has been fully updated.

Another step you can take to help protect yourself is to make sure you have an up-to-date anti-virus program, anti-spyware program, and some sort of firewall enabled as well.

In addition, experts say be wary of any random popup that insists you are infected with a virus, and offers to sell you software to get rid of it. In fact, if you see such a popup, run the other way: it's a false anti-virus package in disguise, and chances are pretty good it has infected your system. Giving them your credit card number is an easy way to become a victim of identity theft.


Microsoft patch:

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool: