How real is the Conficker virus? The media hyped this virus quite a bit, with not much actually happening because of the virus. The truth is, Microsoft issued a patch for the Conficker virus back in January before the virus was even activated. The real problem lies in the fact that many people ignore the updates or simply have no idea how to get them. Reports from Microsoft state that as much as 30% of users have not updated their systems yet.
The Conficker threat is still very real. The virus is estimated to be lying dormant on over 10 million computers (this is a very conservative estimate according to some sources.) The biggest problem with this virus is that it has not been activated yet. Some believe it is waiting for stage two commands to be given to allow it to do terrible things such as copying the personal information from your computer or holding your computer hostage and locking it up unless you purchase special software.
How do you know if you have Conficker, or another virus? The most reported sign is that your computer runs noticeably slower or that you can no longer update your operating system or your anti-virus software. Most viruses target your anti-virus software first to prevent them from being detected. Once they disable your anti-virus program, then they can spread throughout your entire system.
So how do I protect my computer from the Conficker virus? The first thing you should do is to make sure that your operating system is updated. On most Microsoft systems you can click on the START button in the bottom left side of the screen and then select the ALL PROGRAMS option to display a list of all the applications on your computer. Search through the list and look for the WINDOWS UPDATE or MICROSOFT UPDATE option and select it. You may have to do this several times to make sure you get all the updates. (This is because some updates are dependent on others and will not show up unless the first update is installed.)
Once your system is updated, then make sure that your anti-virus software is updated. If you do not have anti-virus software on your computer then I recommend that you look at my website below for some good FREE anti-virus solutions and answers to your anti-virus software questions. After you update your anti-virus program be sure to run a manual scan of your entire system. If you have updated your system from the Microsoft site and your anti-virus software is up to date then you should be protected from most of the bad things going around the internet today. The trick is to keep your systems updated and schedule a scan several times per month just to be sure nothing slipped through.