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A new computer worm is rearing its ugly head this week, and cybersecurity experts are calling it the biggest threat to personal and business computers in years. So, what is it? And what steps can you take to best protect your computer?
The "Downadup" or "Conficker" worm has infected as many as one in 16 personal computers worldwide, and the security of up to 33 percent of computers and devices has been compromised, according to Computerworld Magazine. The worm takes advantage of a Microsoft Windows service vulnerability (MS08-067), for which Microsoft released a fix-it patch in October, PCWorld reports. The Downadup worm "spreads through USB devices like USB drives or MP3 players. The Windows option menu that appears after inserting the USB device will disguise the option to run the program as the option to open the folder. Open the file and release the worm," according to PCWorld.
Computerworld advises consumers to take a number of steps to protect against the Downadup worm, including downloading Microsoft patch MS08-067, checking systems and changing settings to make sure that Microsoft patches and updates are automatically installed, and "verify[ing] that the patch has been installed by bringing up Windows Update, then clicking 'Review your update history' and looking for a security update labeled as 'KB958644'."