April Fools Day isn't until Wednesday, but a nasty prank has already been pulled on nearly 10 million PC users. The conficker worm, a computer infection, threatens to launch itself in millions of computers on April 1st. It's been around since last October but you may have it and not even know it.
The virus has been mainly spreading through computers that use Microsoft. In fact, that company has offered a $250 thousand bounty for any information on who started this worm. In the past computer hackers were show boaters, causing random trouble like in the 1995 film "Hackers." But today a cyber criminal underworld exists where money is the primary goal.
"Definitely the sending of spam, it's very popular, it makes a lot of money, stealing of credit card information, stealing of social security numbers, stealing of credentials from google mail, yahoo mail, other email providers as well as stealing credentials for online games," said Curt Wilson the Network Security Officer with SIU Information Technology.
Wilson says no one is sure what will happen with the Conficker virus on April fool's day.
"It's not actually doing anything yet, the only thing that Conficker is doing is spreading itself," said Wilson.
Spreading to almost 10 million computers world wide. Mainly through networks or flash drives being used in infected computers. But once April first comes anything can happen.
"Whether it be sending of spam, or identity theft, or whatever else the criminals think of," said Wilson.
Conficker is designed to update at anytime to turn into a malicious software. But there is some good news, this worm isn't new and there are ways to protect yourself.
"This is a threat that's received a lot of publicity it's not a stealthy threat all of the major vendors have good detection for it at this stage so clean up shouldn't be too difficult," said Wilson.
Windows has set up a website allowing you to have your computer scanned for free it will look for this virus and several others.