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SPECIAL WORM ALERT:
It seems like it’s getting to the point that at least once a month, there is a new and major warning about another computer virus, worm, or other issue. This month is no exception. BBC and other sites are reporting that over 3.5 million computers have already been infected by the worm known by the names of: Conficker, Downadup, or Kido which was first discovered last October (2008). If you’ve stayed up-to-date on all Windows downloads, updates, and patches, hopefully you should be fine. If you haven’t, be sure to do that today! As soon as possible! Immediately! Really! 🙂 This is especially important for grandparents/parents. Some reports I’ve read indicated that the people who got hit started having pornographic pictures appear no matter what URL they typed in! That could be rather traumatic for both the grandkids and the grandparents. So please doublecheck your machine to be sure all is up-to-date. When you’re done, go check the computers for your elderly parents and others you care for.
You can find the BBC article here – http://budurl.com/WormInJan . You can also read about this worm, along with safe computing suggestions from my favorite antivirus software/experts, Norton, at http://budurl.com/NortonSafeCompTips .
Even if you are sure you have automatic updates set for Windows and any antivirus software you have, I would still encourage you to double-check that everything is totally current. I just did that and found all is ok. But I’ve done that in the past when I read about virus alerts and actually got it updated faster than if I’d waited for it to automatically do it. When it comes to worms and viruses, you can never be too fast. Plus that protects you in case someone accidentally switched the settings and you didn’t realize it. Don’t forget any laptops or older computers that don’t get used often. It’s easy to forget they don’t get updated when turned off. Once back on, it can take awhile for all the updates to download. It would be wise to go turn them on and do the updates yourself right now. I just checked my laptop, which I use often, and discovered that all the vital updates were current but an optional update was there waiting for me.
2:12 PM – AFTER POSTING THIS, I DISCOVERED THAT MICROSOFT HAS POSTED A SPECIAL PATCH – http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS09-001.mspx . YOU CAN GO THERE, PICK THE ONE MOST APPROPRIATE TO YOUR COMPUTER AND DOWNLOAD IT. WHETHER IT SAYS SO OR NOT, BE SURE TO RESTART YOUR COMPUTER AFTER THE PROCESS IS COMPLETED.You should do this IN ADDITION to the above.
Since we’re on this topic, this is also a great time to remind you to do some regular computer housekeeping. If you want to ignore the dust bunnies under the beds, or the windows that need cleaning a little longer, I give you leave. But I do strongly encourage you to:
Defragment your computer.
Do a complete antivirus scan of your computer.
If you have “clean-up” software for your computer, run that.
Run any spyware software, such as Spybot or Adaware.
Delete any files you no longer need in order to free up space, enabling your computer to keep running smoothly. Some suggestions would be: obsolete email, older RSS feeds that you don’t want to keep, podcasts you’ve finished with, pictures that didn’t come out right, and any documents that you are done with.
Check the expiration date of your antivirus software. Mine expires in two weeks so I’m busy watching sales ads and Amazon for the best prices. I’d love to get a deal on Turbotax and Norton, but not sure it will happen in time. (If you hear of any great deals, let us know! Just leave a note in the comments below or email me at [email protected] )
Now that you’ve done all that, you can enjoy the computer a little more comfortably. But remember, as fun as it is, the internet is a wild and woolley place, so keep practicing safe computing habits everyday.