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Worm Infects Thousands of Computers

Worm Infects Thousands of Computers

I often find myself saying, “Please keep your computer up to date!” Well, today is another one of those days, but it may be too late for some of you.

As you may or may not recall, back in October 2008, Microsoft released an emergency security patch to protect computers from a worm that could exploit the Windows Server service. That service, while it sounds like it would only be on servers, actually runs on every computer that has Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 2003 Server and 2008 Server.

At the time, many newspapers made a big deal out of the patch, because it was released at a time when Microsoft doesn’t usually release patches. Those “out of cycle” updates are generally more important, because Microsoft feels the need to release them immediately, instead of at the beginning of the month.

Well, even though the patch was released to fix a major issue with Windows, many people did not install it. Now, the worm, called “Downadup,” has infected over 2.5 million computers worldwide. The worm works by infecting Web sites, making them hosts for the virus. After a Web site is infected, the site can give the worm to any computer that visits.

At this time, the worm continues to spread, so please, please, please update your computer! There are several ways to make sure your computer is up to date. The best way is to open Internet Explorer (not Firefox) and go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. That Web site will scan your system and tell you which updates you need. You should install all of the critical updates.

After you’ve done your updates, you should also download the Malicious Software Removal Tool. That’s a quick tool Microsoft releases monthly to remove known viruses, worms and spyware from Windows computers. To get this month’s version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool, go here. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!

~ Gary