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April Fools' Day Computer Virus Is No Joke

The threat of a computer virus designed to wreak havoc on computers worldwide is no April Fools Joke—that’s according to local computer experts who have been preparing for the Conficker Internet worm. KSMU's Jennifer Moore explains.

The computer virus is a sophisticated menace that latches onto Windows PCs via the internet and infected downloads.The Conficker virus has the ability to affect computers that are merely hooked up to the same networking system.

Jim Taylor is the information security officer for Missouri State University’s computer services. He joined me earlier in the studio to talk about the Conficker worm, and what the university has done to prepare for it.

Taylor said experts are pretty sure there's a virus, but it is unknown whether it will hit on April 1.

He said the best thing a business or home can do to protect their computers is make sure they are updated with anti-virus software, and to install the latest updates from Microsoft's website, including a patch the website offers now.

Taylor said the university has "beefed up" its intrusion-detection system and its perimeter defenses. It has scanned some university computers, and so far, no computers have been found to be infected.

Brent Pannell is the vice president of Serviceworld Computer Center. He said the virus is a standard network worm, and agreed that the best thing folks can do to protect their home PCs is to have a complete, up-to-date anti-virus application on their system.

Pannell said the antivirus software needs to be running in the background while you’re using the computer.

He added that the Conficker virus isn’t necessarily worse than any other worm. But he’s still worried about the potential effects it could have.

He's particularly concerned about those people who access their banking information using an infected computer. He said if you ever access your banking information online, it's very important that you make sure your computer is "clean."

Serviceworld’s website crashed from the sheer volume of people trying to learn more about the virus on Tuesday.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.

LINKS:

ServiceWorld Computer Center's Website

Microsoft.com Security & Updates