Is your computer Safe?

You may have heard of a nasty virus about to come to life on April 1. It would be nice if this was an April Fools joke, but odds are – it’s not. It’s called Conficker and its all the buzz in geek-land these days. If your computer is infected, it is supposed to start contacting servers on April 1 and get instructions as to what to do. No one knows exactly what this will mean, but it could be pretty awful. Millions of zombie computers around the world all set to march to the bidding of some dark lord. An infected computer could become pretty worthless to its rightful owner.

The good news is, if you’ve followed our ‘Safe Computing‘ advice and kept your Windows operating system up-to-date, then you’re fine. Microsoft has known about this vulnerability and they patched it back last October. If you’ve been running your automatic updates, you downloaded the patch last year that makes it impossible to contract the virus now.

The bad news is, if your computer is already infected, it’s difficult to fix. One of the features of the virus is that websites containing tools to remove Conficker are blocked by Conficker. For more technical info specifically on this new virus, we recommend the Windows Secrets newsletter.

So, here’s what we think you should do:
go to www.safety.live.com. That’s the direct address to Microsoft’s free safety scanner, ‘Onecare.’ If you can get to that site, you don’t have the Conficker virus. But, as long as you’re there, you may as well run the scan! Even if you have a good, up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware an occasional scan with another program, like Onecare safety scanner, is a good idea. A second opinion, if you will.

This is also a good time to check and be sure that your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are active and up-to-date. A good place to look for this information is in your Security Center. You’ll find it in your Control Panel. Or, if you have Vista, all you have to do is click Start and type Security Center – now you’ll see it at the top of the list and you can click or press Enter to open it.

We think you’ll find the following videos helpful :

Microsoft’s Onecare Safety Scanner (members only)

Check your Windows Security Center (everyone)

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