Conficker – What you should really know

Last week was fun in the IT (information technology) world. Not because of any real damage by conficker – but because of the absolute media over-hype of something they don’t have a clue about. I had a couple of customers call me – and the conversations were short: “Rex, do we need to worry?” – “No Bob you don’t.” – “Ok – thanks Rex.”

absolute media over-hype of something they don’t have a clue about.

None of my normal customers were affected by Conficker – and I have over 500 clients. Why?  Mainly because they follow my Simple Rules for Computing. That means you do the following:

  1. You have a good backup of your data files (my docs, etc)
  2. Behind a NAT router
  3. Use OpenDNS on your network
  4. Follow common-sense and don’t open every email attachment sent
  5. Don’t install software that you don’t absolutely trust
  6. Keep your computer patched (see links below)
  7. Lastly – run anti-virus such as AVG

Notice I put anti-virus last on the list? That’s because anti-virus programs don’t stop the majority of complex viruses, trojans, and worms these days. Your anti-virus today is much like an alarm system – it warns you once something is already on your system. Think about it this way – if the anti-virus programs really were that good – we wouldn’t need to worry about anything right?

Here are the bullet points about Conficker:

  • If you are running Auto-Updates on your computer – you were patched in October 2007 and have nothing to worry about.
  • If you are behind a NAT router (Linksys, DLink, Netgear, etc), then you can only get the worm through attachment, malicious website, or possibly a USB drive.
  • Conficker has infected quite a few machines in the US.
  • It is a very complex worm and is designed to change itself frequently.
  • If you are infected, Microsoft has a removal tool – but I recommend the usual backup, wipe your machine, reinstall Windows so that you can trust your machine again.

What was the deal about April 1st?

There was code in the worm that indicated it would do something on April 1st. Nobody knows for sure yet, but many guess that it would download another set of instructions. That’s it.

If you weren’t already infected, you had nothing to worry about. Period.

Helpful Links

Vista Updates

XP Updates