Conficker worm wakes up, but with little impact - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Conficker worm wakes up, but with little impact

SPOKANE, Wash. - You may have been a bit anxious clicking away on the keyboard this April fool's, because a potentially dangerous version of the conficker virus could be trying to attack your pc's windows operating system.

Here in the U.S. all is virtually quiet so far and security experts say that could be a sign this virus is a dud.

The conficker is a malicious type of robot software, also known as "botnets" that block the user from accessing Microsoft and security software sites.

Hackers can then secretly take over pc's to spread spam e-mails, or steal personal identification information.

Anywhere from two to 12 million computers may be infected with the original version of conficker.

Security experts say today, the infected computers are programmed to "phone home".

"And when it receives those instructions on April 1 it will either update itself and go back to sleep or potentially go through and infect computers, networks, and everything else that it can touch," said Citrix Chief Security Strategist Kurt Roemer.

It is a game of cat and mouse, rogue programmers trying to infect computers and security experts working to detect the virus.

Security experts say the best protection is to install the most current patches and use anti-virus software.

It will take time for experts to know if the virus caused any widespread damage.

For now, security experts are searching for other computer worms that, unlike the conficker, could show up unannounced.

Microsoft is offering a quarter-million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of the hackers.

One simple test try connecting to anti-virus web sites like Symantec and McAfee.

If you can't, you may have the worm.

Worldwide, there are signs of activity, especially in countries where pirated Microsoft software is used without the protection of security upgrades.
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