April Fools' Virus: Real or Hoax? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

April Fools' Virus: Real or Hoax?

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by John Wilmer

WATERLOO(KWWL) --  At the turn of the century many were worried about the "millennium bug," a computer virus that was supposed to be the end all. Thankfully, nothing came about and our computers continued to work on January 2nd.

Now e-mails are circulating about an April fools' virus that's no joke. The Conficker worm has been slithering through cyberspace since last November and new launch on Wednesday could mean a fresh round of PC's becoming infected.

"They'll use it to turn your computer into a machine that will send out spam for them, they'll data mine your computer, get all your information and information. So you really don't want this on your computer," Wired Magazine Senior Editor, Nicholas Thompson said.

Conficker has already made itself at home in millions of personal computers, exploiting a security gap in Microsoft Windows.

John Hayes, the owner of Computer Reboot in Waterloo says a number of customers are asking questions about this latest threat.

"I guarantee it is here in Iowa. I would say 90 percent of our service work from time to time is just basically virus removal," Hayes said.

Hayes says experts are unsure what exactly this worm will do.     

"A lot of times you will get pop-ups, mass emails can go out.  You can have your system run slow or your system can have corrupt files The skies the limit, unfortunately it basically boils down to who created it and why they created it and what they created it to do," Hayes said.

For those who want to protect themselves from this virus it may already too late.

"Just be careful on what you open and where you surface the web. I mean even the best anti-virus out there and the best ant-spyware software that you can get still doesn't give you full protection from some of stuff that is out there," Hayes said.

Microsoft is offering a $250,000 reward to the person who catches the creator of the Conficker worm

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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