April 1st is nearly upon us, which means you must be prepared for two things: one, finding all sorts of pranks and hoaxes on the web, and two, facing the attack of Conficker.C, the latest version of the Conficker worm which is due to be activated on this very day.
Conficker’s aim seems to be the creation of a botnet that would enable the worm’s coders to control millions of computers worldwide and use this massive collaborative force to launch attacks on particular websites, send spam messages and other similar tasks. However, some people think this could be the biggest April Fool’s joke ever played on the web, and security experts think there’s no actual danger for your PC, as long as it’s clean before the dreaded date. In any case, if you want to be on the safe side, pay attention to these tips to avoid Conficker.C:
- Make sure your Windows system us up to date. Launch the Windows Update tool and download any security patches you haven’t installed yet. As an optional security measure, you can also Download Microsoft Malicious Software Removal tool – always as a complement to your current anti-virus tool, not as a replacement for it.
- Disable the Autoplay functionality. One of the spreading methods used by the Conficker worm is an autorun file that infects USB removable devices. To avoid the risk of immediate infection when connecting one of those devices on your PC, learn how to turn the Autoplay feature off.
- Run a quick scan to search and remove worms. Download and launch F-Secure Easy Clean, a free standalone security tool that helps you find and remove malware, spyware and worms, including Conficker.C.
- Use a specific ‘vaccine’ against Conficker.C. McAfee has released a special build of their McAfee AVERT Stinger tool, with which you can scan your system and clean any Conficker variant. This tool will be updated on a daily basis to grant you support for possible future versions of the worm.
- Check your system with online security tools. If all four previous steps are not enough for you, have a look at our list of online ant-virus tools, perfect for scanning your whole system or just a single file without having to install any application.