The press coverage of the Conficker malware has caused some fear and created the teensiest bit of an overreaction.
Here’s some common sense advice.
- You can use your computers on April 1. You can browse the Internet on April 1.
- If your computer has been automatically installing Microsoft’s security updates, you are protected against the Conficker malware. The specific patch that prevents the Conficker malware from being installed was released in October 2008. The first sighting of Conficker was in late November and the variant that is causing all the current excitement first appeared in early March. You don’t have it on your computer.
- There are roughly ten million computers with the Conficker malware installed. Almost all of them are outside the United States, where computers are less likely to be kept up to date or protected with antivirus software.
- If you’re running antivirus software, it would have detected the Conficker malware on your computer. Your monthly updates from Microsoft also include a malicious software removal tool that has had the ability to detect and remove Conficker since January.
- The Conficker authors theoretically might launch a devastating attack on something today but that’s really unlikely. They probably want to use their network of compromised computers to make money – by sending spam or distributing more malware, for example.
- There’s lots more information available (Microsoft has a nice FAQ here), but if you have been following the rules (installing updates, running security software, and browsing carefully), you should go about your business today.