Last-minute Conficker survival guide (THIS IS REAL NOT A HOAX)

31 03 2009

Tomorrow — April 1 — is D-Day for Conficker, as whatever nasty payload it’s packing is currently set to activate. What happens come midnight is a mystery: Will it turn the millions of infected computers into spam-sending zombie robots? Or will it start capturing everything you type — passwords, credit card numbers, etc. — and send that information back to its masters?

No one knows, but we’ll probably find out soon.

Or not. As Slate notes, Conficker is scheduled to go “live” on April 1, but whoever’s controlling it could choose not to wreak havoc but instead do absolutely nothing, waiting for a time when there’s less heat. They can do this because the way Conficker is designed is extremely clever: Rather than containing a list of specific, static instructions, Conficker reaches out to the web to receive updated marching orders via a huge list of websites it creates. Conficker.C — the latest bad boy — will start checking 50,000 different semi-randomly-generated sites a day looking for instructions, so there’s no way to shut down all of them. If just one of those sites goes live with legitimate instructions, Conficker keeps on trucking.

Conficker’s a nasty little worm that takes serious efforts to bypass your security defenses, but you aren’t without some tools in your arsenal to protect yourself.

Your first step should be the tools you already have: Windows Update, to make sure your computer is fully patched, and your current antivirus software, to make sure anything that slips through the cracks is caught.

But if Conficker’s already on your machine, it may bypass certain subsystems and updating Windows and your antivirus at this point may not work. If you are worried about anything being amiss — try booting into Safe Mode, which Conficker prevents, to check — you should run a specialized tool to get rid of Conficker.

Microsoft offers a web-based scanner (note that some users have reported it crashed their machines; I had no trouble with it), so you might try one of these downloadable options instead: Symantec’s Conficker (aka Downadup) tool, Trend Micro’s Cleanup Engine, or Malwarebytes. Conficker may prevent your machine from accessing any of these websites, so you may have to download these tools from a known non-infected computer if you need them. Follow the instructions given on each site to run them successfully. (Also note: None of these tools should harm your computer if you don’t have Conficker.)

As a final safety note, all users — whether they’re worried about an infection or know for sure they’re clean — are also wise to make a full data backup today.

What won’t work? Turning your PC off tonight and back on on April 2 will not protect you from the worm (sorry to the dozens of people who wrote me asking if this would do the trick). Temporarily disconnecting your computer from the web won’t help if the malware is already on your machine — it will simply activate once you connect again. Changing the date on your PC will likely have no helpful effect, either. And yes, Macs are immune this time out. Follow the above instructions to detect and remove the worm.




The Ultimate Planet Cazmo Quiz

31 03 2009

Hey Cazmos, Soccer here.

SO you think you know everything about planet cazmo?

Oh really?

Take The Ultimate planet cazmo quiz to find out!

1. To answer the quiz below, just comment your answers.

2. The quiz will be added to the planet cazmo puzzles page.

3. I will be adding more to the quiz, and if you have any ideas on what I should add to it, please let me know! I will also make an A,B,C,D choice type quiz.

( NOTE: Some of the questions may be hard, while others are easy. Do your best!

The Ultimate Planet Cazmo Quiz

1. When did planet cazmo start?


2. How old do you have to be to become a Cadet?


3. When Do you earn the cazmo super star badge?


4. Which two planet cazmo moderators needed to be rescued by us?


5. What is the term for “cazmos who have been selected by planet cazmo to help spread the word with there Blog” ?  HINT: It starts with A.

6. Name three singers that have performed in planet cazmo?

7. Name the very first cazmo of the week? HINT: You may have to research on this to find out, like check out old archives of this site 🙂

8. Who was the first ambassador? You may say his shortened name, which starts with A.


9. Who owns this site?  HINT: His name starts with Starts with S and it has to do with sports. 

10. Which Planet Cazmo Game is currently being worked on?


11. What company basically made planet cazmo? 2 words, both start with P.


12. Which Moderator has A Catfish that likes yogurt crisps?


13. What is one email address that you can contact planet cazmo with?


14. Name 8 places in planet cazmo?

15. Name the website Planet Cazmo partnered with?

So, thats all for the quiz right now. I’ll occasinaly update it, so check back. If you have any good questions to add to it, please let me know?

-Ambassador Soccer