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Old 03-31-2009, 07:53 PM
Black Mamba
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Default Conficker worm preparation

Tomorrow -- April 1 -- is D-Day for Conficker, as whatever nasty payload it's packing is currently set to activate. What happens come midnight is a mystery: Will it turn the millions of infected computers into spam-sending zombie robots? Or will it start capturing everything you type -- passwords, credit card numbers, etc. -- and send that information back to its masters?

No one knows, but we'll probably find out soon.

Or not. As Slate notes, Conficker is scheduled to go "live" on April 1, but whoever's controlling it could choose not to wreak havoc but instead do absolutely nothing, waiting for a time when there's less heat. They can do this because the way Conficker is designed is extremely clever: Rather than containing a list of specific, static instructions, Conficker reaches out to the web to receive updated marching orders via a huge list of websites it creates. Conficker.C -- the latest bad boy -- will start checking 50,000 different semi-randomly-generated sites a day looking for instructions, so there's no way to shut down all of them. If just one of those sites goes live with legitimate instructions, Conficker keeps on trucking.

Conficker's a nasty little worm that takes serious efforts to bypass your security defenses, but you aren't without some tools in your arsenal to protect yourself.

Your first step should be the tools you already have: Windows Update, to make sure your computer is fully patched, and your current antivirus software, to make sure anything that slips through the cracks is caught.

But if Conficker's already on your machine, it may bypass certain subsystems and updating Windows and your antivirus at this point may not work. If you are worried about anything being amiss -- try booting into Safe Mode, which Conficker prevents, to check -- you should run a specialized tool to get rid of Conficker.

Microsoft offers a web-based scanner (note that some users have reported it crashed their machines; I had no trouble with it), so you might try one of these downloadable options instead: Symantec's Conficker (aka Downadup) tool, Trend Micro's Cleanup Engine, or Malwarebytes. Conficker may prevent your machine from accessing any of these websites, so you may have to download these tools from a known non-infected computer if you need them. Follow the instructions given on each site to run them successfully. (Also note: None of these tools should harm your computer if you don't have Conficker.)

As a final safety note, all users -- whether they're worried about an infection or know for sure they're clean -- are also wise to make a full data backup today.

What won't work? Turning your PC off tonight and back on on April 2 will not protect you from the worm (sorry to the dozens of people who wrote me asking if this would do the trick). Changing the date on your PC will likely have no helpful effect, either. And yes, Macs are immune this time out.
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:03 PM
mikthehick
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WAR MACS!!!

That's why i own one
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:28 PM
County Mike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikthehick
WAR MACS!!!

That's why i own one
I'm not worried. It couldn't happen to ME.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:05 PM
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WAR CONFLICKER WORM!!! Wait...
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:25 PM
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This worm is not nearly as dangerous as some media outlets are making it out to be. It has already been around for months and the people who made it have already taken out the commands that make the worm replicate itself. So whoever made the worm has probably already accomplished whatever goal they had in mind. Anybody with updated anti-virus definitions and Windows latest update should be fine.

The only reason we don't see as much malicious code designed to attack Macintosh computers is simply because in the grand scheme there are just not nearly as many people using Macs. While Macs are great for multimedia, they are WAY overpriced and not nearly as user friendly for everyday computing.

I've been a hardcore PC user for about 14 years, and about 12 computers later, I can only recall one problem that I could not fix on my own. So bring it on, I am ready.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:31 PM
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rockdawg21 rockdawg21 is offline
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JB Rattlesnake is a blasphemer! How dare you say that about our wonderful, honest, and ethical news reporters!
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockdawg21
JB Rattlesnake is a blasphemer! How dare you say that about our wonderful, honest, and ethical news reporters!
When the first thing I read was that I am a "blasphemer", I thought you were an angry Mac user, lol.
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Rattlesnake
When the first thing I read was that I am a "blasphemer", I thought you were an angry Mac user, lol.
LOL, yeah, I thought you might think that!

What you wrote about Mac's is true, but not our news
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockdawg21
LOL, yeah, I thought you might think that!

What you wrote about Mac's is true, but not our news


Yeah, we all know how ethical and factual the media is...
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2009, 01:05 AM
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NateR NateR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Rattlesnake
While Macs are great for multimedia,
True.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Rattlesnake
they are WAY overpriced
It's a "you get what you pay for" scenario. A Macintosh is overpriced in comparison to a PC in the same way that a Mercedes-Benz is overpriced in comparison to a Ford Fiesta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Rattlesnake
and not nearly as user friendly for everyday computing.
Now this is either just an outright lie or you've never actually used a Mac before. Either way, the complete opposite is true.

Of course, if you are just used to doing everything the hard way, like Windows forces you to do, and you've somehow convinced yourself that that is the "right way" to use a computer; then I could see how you'd be reluctant to adapt to a Macintosh and it would appear to be more difficult. But saying that PCs are more user-friendly is just not true by any stretch of the imagination.
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