April Fool’s Virus 

A computer virus that’s affecting Windows users worldwide is no joke.What’s being referred to as the ‘April Fool’s’ virus – or the Conficker Worm – has already infected anywhere from five to twelve million computers just in the U.S.No one knows exactly what this virus is meant to do, but sources say it’s set to ‘go off’ on April 1-st. The I.T. Department at U-Maine has already felt the affects of what could be an April Fools disaster.Ryan Conlogue, from the I.T. department says the virus infect “Four or five dozen computers over the 2 weeks of spring break that we saw.”Called “Conficker”, the virus uses avenues like email and peer-to-peer networks to spread.”The first thing it does, when it gets on your computer is to disable any anti-virus software that your running, it will disable the ability to download patches from Microsoft.” says Dr. Phillip Dickens, a computer science professor at UMaine. So if your computer is running slower than normal, and you haven’t received patches or updates you usually get, you may have the virus. It only infects computers that use Windows, and it works in two stages. First, Strain B of the virus infects the P.C. and disables security.”Making way for Conficker C, which comes in and just embeds itself in your hard drive somewhere and doesn’t do anything until April first.” Says Dickens. On April first, one main system will have complete control of every computer infected. But experts don’t know what the real purpose of the virus is. Dickens says, “It may do something malicious, but my guess is it’s more inclined to try and get personal information try and get credit card numbers.”If you have the MOST up-to-date version of your anti-virus software, it will protect you from Conficker. But If your P.C. already has the virus, you can get information, and download patches and software to fix it off of Microsoft’s website. But experts say this virus is very difficult to get rid of, and it could even block you from visiting anti-virus sites. So, if you’re not super tech savvy, your best bet may be to bring it to a professional. The experts have some tips on keeping your computer safe from viruses like Conficker. 1.) Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. 2.) Keep your Windows up-dates and patches up-to-date. 3.) Keep your firewall on. 4.) Use more complex passwords. 5.) Don’t open emails or attachments from unfamiliar addresses.