The flurry of news reports over the past few days about the imminent morphing of the Conficker.C worm prompted me to update my Norton 360 subscription, download a few Microsoft updates, and run my antivirus programs. So far, my trusty laptop seems Conficker-free, but the evasive nature of this worm leaves me still apprehensive about what tomorrow will bring.
Of course, I often use zip drives on university networks, so even my careful web-surfing and up-to-date virus protection might not be enough to keep my computer and its files safe. I did follow the protocol outlined in this PC Magazine article, but there are wildly conflicting media reports about the fallout of the worm. The best headline on the topic was from the Washington Post: "Conficker: Doomsday, or the World's Longest Rickroll?"
The truth is that no one really knows what will happen when Conficker shifts into a higher gear tomorrow. I suspect that the crashed-Web scenarios will not occur, since a dead Internet means that the designers and directors of Conficker cannot make money if the Web goes down. Still, April 1 will probably be a banner day for the spammers, phishers, and other virtual lowlifes who unleashed this worm.
Having already lived through a half-dozen major virus scares in the past decade, I am reluctant to buy into the doom-and-gloom scenarios. Still, the reports I have read indicate that this is one of the most sophisticated worms unleashed on a vast scale, and I expect that more than a few networks will suffer some serious harm as April Fool's Day arrives.