What is the Conficker Worm and the Doomsday Virus?

A number of readers have written in and asked, “What is the Conficker Worm and the Doomsday Virus?” Fortunately, these annoying and destructive computer viruses are the same thing, so you only have one nuisance to worry about. The Conficker Worm and the Doomsday Virus are also known by the names Kido, Downup, and Downadup. It first surfaced in October of 2008, and Conficker A was then discovered on November 21st. Conficker B was found on December 29th, 2008, and Conficker C was later discovered on March 4th, 2009.

So what is the Conficker Worm and the Doomsday Virus? Basically, it’s a computer worm (or virus) which targets the Windows operating system (Mac and Linux users are safe). If your PC uses one of the following, then you’re in danger of being infected:

  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta
  • Windows 7 Beta

It’s been difficult to combat because the Conficker Worm uses sophisticated malware techniques to shut off a computer’s anti-virus automatic updates. Most infected users with an anti-virus program don’t even know until it’s too late. A great deal of concern has also been generated following stories that the virus would receive new instructions on April 1st, 2009, thus further damaging infected PCs.

Are You Infected by the Conficker Worm?

what-conficker-worm

If you’re wondering whether or not your PC is infected by the Conficker Worm, try looking for the following symptoms:

  • You can’t access sites related to antivirus software.
  • Your local area networks experience a significant increase in traffic.
  • Windows services such as Windows Defender, Error Reporting Services and Automatic Updates are disabled.
  • Any client requests to domain controllers are responded to in a very slow fashion.
  • Automatic resets on account lockout policies.

Implications of the Doomsday Virus

The appearance of the Conficker Worm or Doomsday Virus has resulted in all kinds of chaos for PC users. According to many experts in the field, it’s the worst computer virus infection since the dreaded SQL Slammer in 2003. An estimated 9 to 15 million PCs are infected, and no clear end is in sight.

The Conficker Worm has even managed to infect the computer systems of various governments and military installations around the globe. In January of 2009, for example, aircraft at French military airbases had to be grounded due to an infection by the Doomsday Virus.

How To Remove The Conficker Worm

While you may have started this article wondering, “What is the Conficker Worm and the Doomsday Virus,” you’re probably now asking, “What’s being done about the Conficker Worm and the Doomsday Virus?” Fortunately, there’s some good news on that front now that Microsoft has released instructions on how to remove the Conficker worm from your computer.

Microsoft banded together with a number of tech companies to fight the problem in February of 2009. At the same time, Microsoft also offered a $250,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the Conficker Worm/Doomsday Virus.

In October of 2008, Microsoft released an emergency patch. This patch, numbered MS08-067, is designed to fix the PC vulnerability which is initially exploited by the Doomsday virus; Microsoft has also posted removal instructions on their website. In addition to Microsoft, tools to remove the virus can be obtained from Sophos, Symantec, F-Secure, ESET, Enigma Software, BitDefender, Kaspersky Lab, AVG and McAfee.