April Fool’s Virus Alert

CNET, Symantec, Microsoft and other computer sites are warning of an April Fool’s Day virus which is supposed go global tomorrow.

A giant computer worm is set to take effect on April Fools’ Day and your computer may already be infected. The Conficker computer worm is estimated to have already infiltrated between 5 and 10 million computers across the country. Tech experts said many of the infected machines are set to begin “phoning home” to the worm’s creators over the Internet on April 1. When that happens, the people behind it will be able to get the rogue program to send spam, more viruses, clog network traffic or even crash Web sites. Technology analysts said the worm exploits a vulnerability in a number of Windows operating systems, inlcuding XP and Vista. No one knows exactly what it will do but some analysts said it could collect passwords and bank account information or try to get computer users to buy fake software.

Anti-virus sites like McAfee have posted free patches to protect against the Conficker worm. (Please, no smug lectures from Apple bottoms. For once.)