The Conficker Virus

Computer security groups around the world are now working together to defeat the Conficker virus. The malicious program which is also known as Downadup or Kido was first discovered in October 2008 and has infected more than nine million computers running the Windows operating system around the world. What it does is not that scary, it just turns your infected machine into a botnet. This program is built in a way that after it infects your computer, it can be programmed remotely by software to serve as a vast system for distributing spam or other malware. The author of this virus also has administrative control of your infected machine. So far, the virus hasn't caused real damage aside from preventing computer users from installing Windows updates and anti-virus software that can remove the virus. What is scary is that the virus' ability to launch a second stage, downloading additional code that could hijack computers completely, steal personal information and everything that you'd not rather share with hackers. 

How do you know if your machine is infected with this virus? It is really difficult to tell because your computer may not show any symptoms of the infection. In some cases the signs could be the following :

Account lockout policies are being tripped.
Automatic Updates, Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), Windows Defender, and Error Reporting Services are disabled.
Domain controllers respond slowly to client requests.
The network is congested.
Various security-related Web sites cannot be accessed.

Of course this virus can be defeated. BitDefender has a tool for removing Conficker. Microsoft also has offered some information and solutions.

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