The virus, which has already infected millions of computers running Microsoft Windows, is apparently set to launch on April 1st, but it is not clear yet what it will do. Previous versions of the virus took control of user PCs to sell bad software programs.
What happens with a virus like this is:
- The program could delete all of the files on a person's computer, use zombie PCs -- those controlled by a master -- to overwhelm and shut down Web sites or monitor a person's keyboard strokes to collect private information like passwords or bank account information, experts said.
- More likely, though, says experts, the virus may try to get computer users to buy fake software or spend money on other phony products.
- Experts said computer hackers largely have moved away from showboating and causing random trouble. They now usually try to make money off their viral programs.
Experts say Conficker C imbeds itself deep in the computer where it is difficult to track. The program, for instance, stops Windows from conducting automatic updates that could prevent the malware from causing damage.
- The program's code is also written to evolve over time and its author appears to be making updates to thwart some of the Conficker Cabal's attempts to neuter the worm.
Microsoft has posted a $250,000 reward for the capture of the virus author, but the best security experts in the world have so far failed to catch the person or persons.
Experts warn this virus could do significant damage when it is launched on April 1st.
If you own a PC, you should:
- Find out if you received an automatic software update from Microsoft in March. If you have, you are probably fine. If not, your machine may be infected.
- If you are concerned your PC may be infected, visit Windows Live to get a PC scan and a security update if needed. The site The Beehive, has a great section on keeping your computer safe.