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A new version of the Conficker computer worm is disguising itself as an offer for anti-virus software, and computer users who provide their personal and financial information in response to the "offer" can fall victim to identity theft.
According to CNET News, the latest variation of Conficker "is downloading a program called Spyware Protect 2009 and displaying warning messages saying that the computer is infected and offering to clean it up for $49.95." CNET News also offers information about a Conficker Eye Chart that you can use to test your computer for infection.
Conficker can try to worm its way into your computer in a number of ways, including as a pop-up ad offering ant-virus protection, or as spam email. But the only way it can infect your system is if you take some action like clicking on a link or downloading a file. So, the best way to protect yourself and your computer is to avoid clicking on any links or opening any attachment unless you know and trust the source. Learn more at ConfickerWorkingGroup.org.
As of January 2009, the Conficker (or "Downadup") worm was estimated to have infected as many as one in every 16 personal computers, and compromised the security of 33 percent of computers and devices worldwide. A much-talked about April 1st launch of a new form of Conficker passed fairly quietly, but new problems are still cropping up. In addition to the new anti-virus software wrinkle, over 700 campus computers at the University of Utah were recently infected with the Conficker virus, the Associated Press reports. And according to Computerworld: "Windows PCs infected with the Conficker worm have turned into junk mail-spewing robots capable of sending billions of spam messages a day."