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Microsoft, McAfee, and Conficker
The April Fool's computer worm and how to confront it
T

he Conficker worm is "a nasty piece of work," said Dwight Silverman in the Houston Chronicle. "It's insidiously crafted to take control of an infected Windows PC"—and millions of Microsoft users could be affected. "What's unknown is what Conficker is designed to do"—and we're expected to find out on April Fool's Day.

"There's a lot of hype about this latest piece of malware," said Adrian Kingsley-Hughes in ZDNET, but the situation is likely far less dire than the antivirus companies that are using the April 1 trigger date to sell security fixes would have you believe. More than half of the infections appear to be in China, Brazil, Russia, India, and Argentina—so Americans have "dodged the bullet."

Still, there's no reason to chance it, said Bobbie Johnson in Britain's The Guardian. "The easiest way to conduct a quick check is to try and visit pages from antivirus companies Symantec and McAfee," which Conficker blocks. "If you can't get there, the chances are you've been infected," but you'll be okay if you download a removal program from a source you trust.

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